Seoul Says North Korea Defector likely Made rare Border Crossing back - NPR

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defense force safeguard posts of North Korea, rear, and South Korea, entrance, are considered in Paju, close the border with North Korea, South Korea, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022. Ahn younger-joon/AP hide caption

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militia protect posts of North Korea, rear, and South Korea, front, are seen in Paju, close the border with North Korea, South Korea, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022.

Ahn younger-joon/AP

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — a person who crossed the border from South Korea into North Korea on New 12 months's Day turned into possible a defector who had slipped during the identical heavily fortified frontier in the different route to settle in South Korea in late 2020, the military referred to Monday.

South Korean surveillance device detected an unidentified grownup stepping into North Korean territory throughout the eastern component of the border on Saturday. The militia referred to a safety camera showed someone earlier Saturday crawling over a barbed-wire fence along the southern edge of the border.

On Monday, the protection Ministry spoke of in a press release it suspects an earlier North Korean defector become the border crosser and that it is trying to ascertain related assistance.

A ministry legitimate observed the observation refers to a former North Korean citizen who turned into captured south of the border in November 2020. the man recognized himself as a former gymnast and advised investigators that he had crawled over barbed wire fences to defect before being discovered by using South Korean troops, the authentic referred to, soliciting for anonymity citing branch rules.

The legit mentioned the look of the grownup detected by using the South Korean security digicam on Saturday matched the previous defector.

The grownup's destiny is rarely well-known.

A South Korean thermal remark device detected four people within the northern part of the border after Saturday's border crossing, the defense Ministry professional talked about. This could imply three North Korean soldiers came to take the border crosser away from the border.

South Korea requested North Korea to be certain the adult's security via a militia hotline communication channel. North Korea replied that it acquired the South Korean messages however did not complex on the border crosser, in response to the South Korean protection Ministry.

In September 2020, North Korea fatally shot a South Korean fisheries authentic found floating in its waters along a sea boundary. South Korea referred to North Korea troops had been under orders to shoot anybody illegally crossing the border to give protection to against the coronavirus pandemic.

South Korean media stories observed the former gymnast defector labored as a cleaner in South Korea and had financial difficulties. The defense Ministry refused to verify the experiences but said an preliminary investigation showed he wasn't engaged in espionage or different suspicious activities in South Korea. The ministry didn't speculate on why he returned to the North.

About 34,000 North Koreans have fled to South Korea for economic and political factors considering that the late 1990s, and best about 30 have back home during the past 10 years, based on South Korean executive statistics.

Observers say these returnees doubtless failed to adjust to their new highly competitive, capitalistic lives in South Korea, had big bills or were blackmailed by North Korean brokers who threatened to harm their relatives if they didn't return.

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Defecting by the use of the border is rare. in contrast to its professional name, the Demilitarized Zone, the 248-kilometer (a hundred and fifty five-mile) -lengthy, 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) -large border is guarded through land mines, tank traps and fight troops on both sides in addition to barbed wire fences. an enormous majority of the North Korean defectors in South Korea came by means of China and Southeast Asian countries.

Saturday's border crossing raised questions about South Korea's protection posture because the person's entry into the DMZ become not observed with the aid of South Korean troops for just a few hours, even though surveillance device detected the person. The defense force stated it had despatched soldiers but failed to locate the person earlier than she or he crossed the border.

In fresh years, the South Korean militia faced an identical criticism when North Koreans handed through DMZ areas neglected to defect, together with one who knocked on the door of a South Korean military barrack.

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