North Korean soldier crosses border minefields to defect to the South

A North Korean soldier has defected to the South by walking through the heavily mined military border zone. The soldier, who was unarmed, was being questioned over how he made the crossing, the South’s military said. No details were released about him nor why he crossed the 4km wide zone, which is heavily fortified, not just with mines but with barbed wire fences, and is guarded by tens of thousands of troops. Defectors from the North usually cross into China to make their way to the South.

He is now being held in custody for questioning

South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff

The two countries have shared the world’s most heavily fortified border since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. It is rare for anyone to try to cross it although a soldier did make the perilous journey in June last year. He was the first to do so in three years and was said to have later told officials that he fled because of widespread beatings and other abuse in the North’s military. North Korea has branded defectors as disloyal “human scum”.