North Korean defector was shot six times by border troops: UNC

North Korea drills and US aircraft carriers

North Korean soldier defects to South Korea at truce village

The soldier bolted from a guard post at the northern side of Panmunjom village in the Joint Security Area to the southern side of the village, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Crossing into South Korea is particularly treacherous as the border is marked by trigger-happy soldiers on both sides.

It said there was no exchange of gunfire between the two sides in 250-kilometer-long, 4-km-wide DMZ, which is fortified with land mines, fences and guard posts.

Four North Korean soldiers chased after him, firing at least 40 rounds, including some with an AK-47 assault rifle, officials said Tuesday after reviewing security camera footage from the border.

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About 30,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, with most travel through China.

A North Korean soldier was shot by his fellow troops as he was defecting to the south across the demilitarised zone but still managed to successfully cross the border.

The blitz across one of the world's most closely patrolled borders - the first such military defection in a decade - has riveted the region with elements that read like a scene from a movie, including the soldier being shot five times by his countrymen as he ran south on Monday. They stand only several yards away from tall South Korean soldiers wearing aviator sunglasses and standing motionless like statues. In addition, North Korean soldiers could have fired rifles and pistols when he was trying to cross the MDL.

The defection came during escalated tensions between the North and the South and almost a week after President Trump visited Seoul for his five-country Asia tour.

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Panmunjomis where an armistice was signed to pause the Korean War. The US has around 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea.

The most famous incident was in 1976, when two American army officers were killed by ax-wielding North Korean soldiers.

"He then exited the vehicle and continued fleeing south across the line as he was sacked upon by other soldiers from North Korea", it said in a statement.

From there they can seek sanctuary and organise a flight to South Korea, where defectors are given assistance and prepared for life outside the hermit state. That prompted Washington to send nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to intimidate the North before the adversaries pulled back from the brink of conflict.

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The Associated Press contribute to this report.

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