Teenage North Korean soldier defects to South

Young soldier makes rare crossing through heavily mined demilitarised zone

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A teenage North Korean soldier has defected to South Korea after walking across the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between the two countries on Monday.

The DMZ is the world's most heavily militarised and mined border, so it is rare to see North Korean soldiers heading through the no-man’s land to defect to the South, despite the fact that defections through other countries are common.

There are surveillance cameras, electrified fencing, and thousands of troops on both sides of the border. The South Korean state news agency reported this year that the North's military is also laying more mines to prevent defections.

The last time a North Korean soldier walked across the border was in 2012. Three South Korean border commanders were sacked after the incident.

The teenage soldier surrendered himself to South Korean border guards in Gangwon province's Hwacheon county early in the morning. South Korean Defence Ministry officials said he is in custody for questioning and no shots were fired, as he came through the border clearly expressing his desire to defect.

Hundreds of North Koreans flee the country, including soldiers, every year, but they usually cross the border with China to escape.

TRTWorld and agencies