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North Korean Soldier Defects to South Korea Through DMZ

According to South Korea officials, a North Korean soldier has walked across one of the world’s most heavily militarized borders to defect to the South.

The solder, in his late teens, approached a South Korean guard post in north-eastern Hwacheon in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on June, South Korea’s defense ministry said.

There was no exchange of fire and the soldier is now being held in custody.

It is extremely rare for defectors to walk across the DMZ. The last time it happened was in 2012.North Korea soldier DMZ

Most defectors cross over into China, then make their way through South East Asia and then into South Korea.

The DMZ is fortified with landmines and barbed wire and guarded by tens of thousands of troops on both side.

Hundreds of North Koreans flee poverty and a repressive regime at home each year.

In August 2014, two North Koreans swam across the Yellow Sea border to a South Korean island.

Of the nearly 28,000 North Koreans who have resettled in South Korea, most of them left the country through the border with China, and not through the DMZ.

This is because the 155 mile-long DMZ is heavily guarded, littered with anti-personnel landmines.

The last time a North Korean soldier defected through the wire fence was in October 2012, when a solider managed to cross undetected.

Recently, there has been increased activity by North Korean soldiers in the DMZ and some believe the North has been trying to make defections more difficult.