(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) TOKYO, Dec 21 (KUNA) -- A North Korean soldier fled to South Korea through an inter-Korean land border Thursday, followed by gunfire from both sides, the South's military said, according to Yonhap News Agency.
The "low-ranking" soldier appeared in front of a guard post at around 8:04 am (2304 Wednesday GMT), the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in Seoul. After the defection, the North's border guards approached the military demarcation line apparently in search of the defector, a JCS official told reporters.
In response, the South's troops sent a warning broadcast and fired some 20 warning shots in accordance with related rules, he said. In less than an hour, there was the sound of several gunshots from the North, but no bullets were found to have crossed the border, he added. The North Korean soldier was identified as a 19-year-old man, and he was carrying an AK-47 rifle, a defense source said.
The UN Command emphasized that armistice rules are valid in the border region. "We are coordinating with the Republic of Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff to determine the circumstances surrounding the defection," it said in a statement. "Armistice Agreement rules are in effect throughout the Demilitarized Zone, including the area where the defection occurred." The command, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, oversees the armistice on the peninsula. (end) mk.hb