On November 13th, a North Korean soldier thus far identified only by his surname, Oh, defected across the military exclusion zone dividing Kim Jong Un’s reclusive state from South Korea. North Korean troops in turn violated the armistice that ended the war between the two Koreas by firing their weapons into South Korea during the pursuit, and one soldier even crossed over the border as he gave chase.
The defector was hit at least five times by North Korean small arms fire as he fled, and South Korean border guards braved the possibility of being shot themselves, low crawling to the injured man and ultimately getting him to a UN helicopter to be evacuated for treatment. Days after, the United Nations released footage of the incident, clearly showing the North Koreans violating the terms of the Armistice, and issuing a request to North Korean official to arrange a meeting to discuss ways to prevent further transgressions in the future.
South Korean Minister of Defense Song Young-moo echoed the United Nations’ sentiment, issuing a warning to North Korean officials in a statement he delivered on Monday from the area Oh’s wounded body was recovered by South Korean troops. Nearby, three North Korean soldiers stood post near trees planted since the incident, listening closely to the statements made by South Korea’s senior defense official.
Shooting towards the South at a defecting person, that’s a violation of the armistice agreement,” Song said. “Crossing the military demarcation line, a violation. Carrying automatic rifles (in the JSA), another violation. North Korea should be informed this sort of thing should never occur again.”