South Korean soldiers reportedly fired warning shots at North Korean border troops as they searched for yet another defector that managed to make it across the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea early Thursday morning. While it was once considered nearly impossible to cross the heavily fortified Military Demarcation Line (MDL) that houses a significant guard presence on either side of the border, Thursday morning’s events mark the second time in recent history a North Korean soldier has successfully made it across.
The recent influx of bold attempts at defection may be indicative of increasingly dire circumstances for Kim Jong Un’s military.
Unlike the dramatic events that unfolded around the November defection, Thursday’s events at least began quietly. November’s defection saw North Korean soldiers violate the 1953 armistice that halted the war between the divided nation by firing rounds into South Korea and even crossing the border briefly during their pursuit; however, the most recent defector managed to cross under heavy fog, and wasn’t spotted until he appeared in front of a guard post at around 8:04 a.m.
Not keen to suffer such an embarrassment yet again, however, North Korean troops reportedly pushed their search for the missing soldier far enough to illicit a series of 20 warning shots from South Korean border guards at 9:30 a.m., who intended to ensure North Korean forces remained on their side of the border this time.