He was recovered by South Korean and US soldiers later Monday and transported to a hospital south of Seoul, as he had been hit by multiple gunshots while running away from the North in the heavily fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ).
The defector was rescued by South Koreans, who are treating him in a hospital.
He received gunshot wounds to the shoulder and elbow from North Korean forces while defecting.
There has been no exchange of gunfire between the two sides, but the South's military said it has raised its level of alertness against any North Korean provocations.
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The individual, presumed to be a North Korean soldier, "initially took cover near a building on the southern side of the JSA", the UNC said, using the abbreviation for the Joint Security Area.
This composite image represents a North Korean soldier defecting to South Korea via the Joint Security Area on the inter-Korean border. In 1998, a North Korean solider fled to South Korea via Panmunjom.
The JSA is a small strip of land on the border between the Koreas where troops from both sides stand face-to-face.
Areas around Panmunjom were the site of bloodshed and defection attempts by North Koreans in the past, but there have been no such incidents in recent years.
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Military officials from the two sides have used Panmunjom frequently in the past for talks. The DMZ, created at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, serves as a de facto border between the Koreas.
In 1984, North Korean and U.N. Command soldiers traded gunfire after a Soviet citizen defected by sprinting to the South Korean sector of the truce village. But it is very rare for civilians to cross the closely guarded border with the South, which is fortified with minefields and barbed wire. The U.N. Command said Tuesday that an investigation into the incident was underway.
The same day the Louisiana man was arrested, North Korean troops in the same western portion of the DMZ fired at a comrade who fled to the South at a jointly controlled DMZ area. In 1976, North Korean soldiers axed two American army officers to death and the United States responded by flying nuclear-capable B-52 bombers toward the DMZ in an attempt to intimidate the North.
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