SEOUL, WORLD LINES – A rare incident occurred when a South Korean national defected to North Korea.
The South Korean military said a South Korean national crossed the demilitarized zone (DMZ) towards North Korea.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff Military (JCS) said it carried out a search operation after detecting people on the eastern side of the DMZ, which separates the two Koreas, Saturday, January 1, 2022.
“We can confirm that someone crossed the military demarcation line at around 10:40 p.m. and defected to the North,” said JSC, Sunday, January 2, 2022, quoted from The Guardian.
JCS said it could not confirm whether the person was still alive or not.
But they have notified the North Koreans through the military hotline communication and asked for protection for the person.
The border crossing, which is illegal in South Korea, comes as North Korea implements strict measures to prevent the entry of the coronavirus.
North Korea had closed its borders in early 2020, though it had yet to confirm any infections.
Public and political furore arose in September 2020, after North Korean troops shot dead a South Korean fishing official who went missing at sea.
At the time, Pyongyang blamed its anti-virus rules, and apologized.
Two months earlier, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared a national emergency and closed borders after North Korean defectors who fled to the South and returned to the North were said to have developed symptoms of Covid-19.
Even so, this defection incident is rare considering that it is usually North Koreans who defect to South Korea.
It was the pressure and years of poverty in North Korea that made the reclusive citizen decide to defect.
Usually, North Koreans who defect to South Korea first flee to China.
They then entered South Korea through another country.
Few dare to cross the DMZ because it is full of landmines and there is a strong military presence on both sides.