N.Korean Soldier Flees Through Hail of Bullets

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"He then exited the vehicle and continued fleeing south across the line as he was sacked upon by other soldiers from North Korea", the UNC said in a statement.

A United Nations agency said today the North Korean soldier who crossed over to South Korea on Monday was "shot six times by North Korean border troops" as he made his way across the heavily guarded border separating the two countries.

The soldier was injured by gunfire from the North Korean side and has been hospitalized, according to South Korea's military.

It's the same border area which was visited by US Secretary of Defense James Mattis less than a month ago.

The 58-year-old American, identified as only as "A" and reportedly from the USA state of Louisiana, was arrested by South Korean police at midnight on Monday (9.55am local time) after he crossed over the Civilian Control Line (CCL) near the North Korean border.

"But our military is keeping a full readiness posture against the possibility of North Korea's provocations", a military official said in a briefing.

The move is considered highly unusual as even defectors from the North rarely cross directly over the border - usually crossing into China first before heading to Seoul - and South Korea's National Intelligence, army and police have launched a joint investigation.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance to the Kumsong Tractor Factory in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on Wednesday.

The soldier drove a jeep toward a guard post in the Joint Security Area just after 3 p.m. on Monday, said Col. Roh Jae-cheon, a spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

North Korean soldiers have occasionally defected to South Korea across the border. "Trump, during his visit, laid bare his true nature as destroyer of the world peace and stability and begged for a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula", a North Korean official said in a statement on Saturday.

Panmunjom, once an obscure farming village inside the 2 1/2-mile-wide Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas, is where an armistice was signed to pause the Korean War.

A senior Chinese diplomat will visit North Korea from Friday as a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing said, although it did not say he was planning to discuss North Korea's nuclear and ballistic programs.

Monday was the first time since 2007 a North Korean soldier had defected across the JSA.

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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