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North Korea soldier defects to South Korea: JCS

02 December 2018

A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea across the eastern land border on Saturday, the South's military said.

South Korean soldiers found the defector moving south of a demarcation line between the two Koreas, then escorted the man to safety, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The JCS gave no further details, such as the exact location of the defection, the soldier's name, rank or unit or whether he was carrying a weapon.

"The soldier is safely in our custody", it said.

A train will leave Seoul Station in the early morning and arrive in the North Korean city of Sinuiju, near the Chinese border, before heading to Pyongyang.

South Korean soldiers close gate near the rails leading to North Korea, inside demilitarized zone.

In November past year, a North Korean soldier drove to the heavily guarded border at speed and ran across under fire from his own comrades.

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In 2012 a North Korean soldier walked unchecked through rows of electrified fencing and surveillance cameras, prompting Seoul to sack three field commanders for a security lapse.

A South Korea train is prepared to travel across the border into North Korea at the Dorasan Station in Paju, South Korea, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018.

Defections across the closely guarded inter-Korean frontier are rare, and this one comes as the neighbours pursue a delicate reconciliation process.

In recent months, however, the two sides have begun to remove landmines and destroy military bunkers at parts of the border as part of efforts to improve long-strained relations.

According to CNN, President Moon Jae-in has "long dreamed" of building a trans-Korean railroad because of the economic benefits that would result in being more easily connected to China and Russian Federation.

The plan to modernize North Korea's outdated railways and roads came from the historic meeting between the two country's leaders in April, in which North Korea's Kim Jong-un asked for help with updating the country's "embarrassing" railway network.

The military said no unusual North Korean military activity was reported on Saturday.

North Korea soldier defects to South Korea: JCS

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