An unidentified South Korean made a rare defection to the North after making a daring escape through the heavily fortified demilitarized zone, South Korean military officials said on Sunday.

The defector was spotted by South Korean military surveillance near the eastern portion of the border, Joint Chiefs of Staff officers said.

The South sent troops to recover the individual, but failed and observed the person cross the border.

South Korea sent a message to North Korea to ensure the safety of the defector, but so far the North has not responded, an officer requesting anonymity told the Associated Press.

The defector dodged an estimated 2 million landmines inside and near the 155-mile-long, 2.5-mile-wide strip, which is also guarded by barbed wire fences, anti-tank traps and combat troops on both sides.

South Korea troops watched the person cross the DMZ border into North Korean following an unsuccessful recovery attempt.
South Korean troops watched the person cross the DMZ border into North Korea following an unsuccessful recovery attempt.
REUTERS

In September 2020, the North Korean military shot and killed a South Korean fisheries official found floating in its waters in line with what Seoul called strict anti-virus rules that permitted shooting anyone illegally crossing the border.

While it is incredibly rare for South Koreans to flee to the North, About 34,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the late 1990, typically through China and seldom by crossing the DMZ.

With Post wires

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