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Person crosses heavily fortified border in rare deflection from South Korea to North Korea

A South Korean has crossed the heavily fortified border in a rare defection to North Korea, South Korea’s military said on Sunday.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it carried out a search operation after detecting the person around 9:20pm on Saturday on the eastern side of the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas.

“We’ve confirmed that the person crossed the Military Demarcation Line border about 10:40pm and defected to the North,” the JCS said.




The JCS said it could not confirm whether the person was alive, but sent a notice to the North via a military hotline asking for protection.

The border crossing, which is illegal in South Korea, came as North Korea carries out strict anti-coronavirus measures since shutting borders in early 2020, though it has not confirmed any infections.

The North’s prolonged lockdowns and restrictions on inter-provincial movement have also pushed the number of North Korean defectors arriving in the South to an all-time low.