North Korean border guards violated the terms of the armistice that halted the war between North and South Korea by firing rounds and chasing a defector across the border last week, according to a statement released by the United Nations.
North Korean troops were only steps behind the defecting soldier when a wheel on his jeep came loose and he was forced to flee on foot, a United Nations security video shows. They opened fire, releasing somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 rounds from pistols and “AK style” rifles, hitting the defecting soldier with five or more times before he was able to get far enough over the border to be reached by South Korean troops. According to the footage, one of the North Korean soldiers giving chase even crossed over the border himself into South Korea briefly during the pursuit.
“The key findings of the special investigation team are that the KPA violated the armistice agreement by one, firing weapons across the MDL, and two, by actually crossing the MDL temporarily,” Chad Carroll, Director of Public Affairs for the United Nations Command (UNC), told reporters.
In the footage, which was shown during a live video briefing, the defecting soldier can be seen speeding toward the border in a military jeep before crashing the vehicle. North Korean soldiers immediately gave chase, firing their weapons in his direction, with one overzealous soldier in pursuit crossing the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), before turning and returning to North Korea as his fellow soldiers continued to fire. From there, three South Korean border guards, including the Deputy Commander for South Korea’s border security unit, crawled through the brush to reach the wounded man and drag him to safety, where he was evacuated by UN helicopter to a nearby hospital for treatment.