A defector from North Korea recently led North Korean soldiers into the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in a dramatic escape recorded by the United Nations in a video (below).
South Korea and the United States rescued the North Korean soldier who has been identified by only his surname, Oh. Medical treatment for gunshot wounds when the North Korean soldiers shot at him in the DMZ was also provided. Oh also had several parasites removed from his intestines, reports Reuters. His medical costs came to over $92,260, according to Yonhap News out of South Korea.
North Korea has yet to respond to the defection, reports Reuters.
One of the North Korean border guards in pursuit of the defector briefly crossed into the DMZ with the South on Nov. 13, a violation of the ceasefire between North and South created at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
“Shooting towards the South at a defecting person, that’s a violation of the armistice agreement,” South Korean Minister of Defense Song Young-moo said in a meeting at a Joint Security Area (JSA) in the demilitarized zone near where South Korean and U.S. soldiers rescued the defector.
As Song was speaking, four North Korean soldiers had been spotted in nearby trees listening closely, reports Reuters.
“Crossing the military demarcation line, a violation. Carrying automatic rifles (in the JSA), another violation,” he added.
Six soldiers, three South Korean and three American, were given awards by the U.S. Forces in South Korea last week for their rescue of Oh who was found bleeding between the two countries. In a report from Yonhap, soldiers from the South have been broadcasting over their loudspeakers news of the 24-year-old defector since his rescue, according to Reuters.
South Korea resumed criticism of North Korea in January 2016 across the heavily militarized border in 11 different sites, reported Reuters. They also played K-Pop music over loudspeakers. North Korea called the recordings an "act of psychological warfare" and responded with a broadcast of their own.
South Korean military officials found bullets in the walls of a South Korean building from the North soldiers who shot at Oh as he ran. Oh's lead surgeon, Lee Cook-jong, told Reuters that Oh suffers from nightmares in which he is returned to North Korea.
The defection of soldier Oh comes at a time when tensions are high between North Korea and the international community amid nuclear tests from the country. According to Reuters, the North Korean guards who were stationed previously have been replaced.