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SKorea punishes officers guarding NKorea border

SKorea punishes officers guarding NKorea border

South Korea dismissed a commander and four military officers from their posts Thursday after a pig farmer apparently defected to North Korea through the section of border their unit was guarding.
North Korea announced earlier this week that a 30-year-old man, Kang Tong Rim, arrived in the communist nation after crossing the heavily armed border Monday. South Korea's military said it found a hole cut through barbed wire at the border, and confirmed that Kang had served at a base near the spot.
The apparent defection has raised questions about border security in a nation facing nuclear-armed North Korea. The two sides are still technically in a state of conflict as their 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
On Thursday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that a two-star commander and four other lower-level officers at the unit guarding the border were dismissed from their posts. It said they will be referred to the military's disciplinary committee for more specific punishments.
South Korean police said the alleged defector was wanted on assault charges for allegedly striking the owner of the pig farm that employed him with a hammer last month.
North Korea said Kang had harbored a "longing" for North Korea, and is in the "warm care" of North Korean officials.
It was a rare instance of defection from the South to the impoverished North. Thousands of North Koreans have defected to the South in recent years, most of them via China. Last year, about 2,800 North Koreans arrived in the South, up from about 2,500 in 2007.