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NKorea claims SKorean crossed DMZ to defect

NKorea claims SKorean crossed DMZ to defect

A South Korean man defected to communist North Korea by crossing the heavily fortified frontier, Pyongyang's state media reported Tuesday _ but it didn't say how he navigated a no man's land where guards can shoot to kill.
If confirmed, the case would be a rare instance of a South Korean defecting to the impoverished North, though thousands have defected from North Korea to the South in recent years.
Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said the 30-year-old man crossed into North Korea on Monday and was in the country's "warm care."
KCNA did not say how he was able to cross the Demilitarized Zone, which is guarded by hundreds of thousands of combat-ready troops on both sides. The 2.5-mile-wide (4-kilometer-wide) DMZ is also strewn with land mines and laced with barbed wire.
South Korean guards are authorized to shoot to kill anyone caught in the zone who cannot provide the correct password, a spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday.
The KCNA report said only that the man crossed in the east.
The report said the man, identified as Kang Tong Rim, had harbored a "longing" for North Korea and tried to defect several times while serving mandatory South Korean military service between 2001-2003.
"He is pleased with the accomplishment of his desire for defection," KCNA said.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff and National Intelligence Service spy agency said they were checking the KCNA report, which was monitored in Seoul.
The report said Kang is a native of South Jeolla Province and had worked at "Samsung Semiconductor" before moving to a pig farm in southern South Korea.
It was not clear if "Samsung Semiconductor" refers to Samsung Electronics, the world's largest maker of computer memory chips. The company said no one by the name of the alleged defector was employed there.
South Korea's anti-communist National Security Law bars citizens from making unauthorized visits to North Korea.
The two countries remain in a state of war because their three-year conflict ended in 1953 with a truce, not a peace treaty. The division of the peninsula split up millions of families, with most unable to contact relatives on the other side of the border.
Last month, a 54-year-old South Korean was sentenced to a suspended prison term for trying unsuccessfully to defect to the North through a North Korean diplomatic mission in China earlier this year. The man reportedly said he wanted to live in his father's homeland.
In 2007, another South Korean entered the North via the Chinese-North Korean border but was expelled. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Most North Koreans defecting to South Korea do so via the Chinese-North Korean border, in part because of the challenged of crossing the Demilitarized Zone.


Updated : 2021-07-28 14:34 GMT+08:00