Defecting through the DMZ

The Demilitarized Zone or DMZ is a strip of land 250km (155 miles) long and 4km (2.5 miles) wide that runs across the Korean Peninsula, heavily mined and fortified with barbed wire, rows of surveillance cameras and electric fencing.

It is also closely guarded by tens of thousands of troops on both sides, making it almost impossible to walk across.

Yet on June 13th a North Korean soldier defected to the South by walking across that heavily protected DMZ separating the two sides. The North Korean soldier, who has not been officially identified, approached a South Korean guard post to surrender himself.

And this is the third defection by a North Korean soldier via the DMZ in the last three years, one in September 2016 and before that, in June 2015.

Nobody knows the number of unsuccessful attempts to cross the DMZ have been made by desperate defectors-to-be. If spotted by the North Korean military, those trying to cross the DMZ would certainly be taken to a detention center to be interrogated. They could be tried and sentenced to lengthy terms in labor camps.


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