Dramatic footage shows North Korean solider escaping into South Korea

Dramatic footage shows North Korean solider escaping into South Korea

It is the first time UN Command, led by the United States, has released video of a defection, Hochong Song, a public affairs officer for US Forces Korea, told CNN.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson referred to the move as part of the "peaceful pressure" campaign, noting it was in line with Mr Trump's "maximum pressure" programme to get countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore, and South Sudan to cut off Pyongyang financially as well. The JSA is the only place in the 250km-long Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) where soldiers from North Korea and South Korea face each other. There were no tour groups at the time of the defection, Col Carroll said.

After crashing the vehicle and sprinting towards the border, the injured soldier is seen collapsed in a pile of leaves.

Three South Korean troops, including the deputy commander of the border security unit, are seen crawling through undergrowth to drag the wounded North Korean to safety.

A UN Command helicopter later transported him to the Ajou University Medical Centre near Seoul.

While on average more than 1,000 North Koreans defect to the South every year, most travel via China and it is unusual for a North Korean to cross the land border dividing the two Koreas, which have been in a technical state of war since their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. A North Korean soldier defected via Panmunjom in 1998 and another in 2007 but neither of those events involved gunfire between the rivals. A U.N. Command statement said a meeting had been requested with the North's military to discuss the violations.

Almost 30,000 North Koreans have crossed the border since the end of the war, but hardly any have made it through the heavily-guarded DMZ.

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Panmunjom was the site of some bloodshed during the Cold War but there has not been major violence there in recent years.

North Korea has not commented on the defection, but the soldier's action may inflame global tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear plans.

North Korea joins Sudan, Syria and Iran as countries that the state department identifies as ones that have "repeatedly provided support for acts of worldwide terrorism".

He underwent two rounds of surgeries to fix internal organ damage and other injuries.

While treating the wounds, surgeons earlier removed dozens of parasites from the soldier's ruptured small intestine, including presumed roundworms that were as long as 27 centimeters (10.6 inches), which may reflect poor nutrition and health in North Korea's military. The soldier is 5ft 7in tall but weighs just 60kg.

He cited the death of a USA student who had been held in a North Korean jail and the assassination by nerve agent of Kim's elder half-brother on foreign soil as reasons for the move.

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