[00:00.00]North Korean soldiers shot at and wounded another soldier who was crossing the border between the North and South.
[00:09.77]The South Korean military said Monday the soldier was trying to defect in the Joint Security Area of the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ.
[00:20.28]North Korean soldiers have crossed the border to defect at times.
[00:29.44]But it is rare for a North Korean soldier to defect by crossing the DMZ.
[00:36.07]North and South Korean soldiers stand meters away from each other.
[00:42.95]The North Korean soldier left from a guard post at the northern side of Panmunjom village to the southern side of the village.
[00:53.57]He was shot in the shoulder and elbow and was taken to a South Korean hospital, said the South’s Defense Ministry.
[01:02.74]It was not immediately known how serious his injuries were or why he decided to defect.
[01:11.52]South Korean troops found the injured soldier south of the border after hearing the sound of gunfire.
[01:21.06]South Korean troops did not fire at Northern soldiers, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said.
[01:29.84]The defection came at a time of heightened tension over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
[01:38.86]North Korea has normally accused South Korea of enticing its citizens to defect, something the South denies.
[01:49.49]Panmunjom and other DMZ areas are guarded by hundreds of thousands of troops from North Korea and the United Nations Command.
[02:01.32]The command includes troops from the United States and South Korea.
[02:09.20]The area is a popular stop for visitors from both sides.
[02:15.70]American presidents often visit the DMZ during their trips to South Korea.
[02:23.29]President Donald Trump planned to visit the DMZ during his visit to South Korea.
[02:30.56]But bad weather prevented his helicopter from landing near the border area.
[02:37.32]It is estimated that about 30,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953.
[02:49.85]But most of them travel through China.
[02:54.15]In 1998, a North Korean soldier fled to the South through the DMZ, but there have been few incidents in recent years.
[03:05.12]Earlier in 1976, North Korean soldiers with axes and knives attacked a group of soldiers in the DMZ, killing two American soldiers and injuring five South Korean soldiers.
[03:23.19]The U.S. then flew nuclear-capable B-52 bombers toward the DMZ as a warning to North Korea.
[03:33.38]In 1984, North Korean and U.N. Command soldiers exchanged gunfire after a Soviet citizen defected by sprinting to the South Korean side of the village.
[03:48.67]Three North Korean soldiers and one South Korean soldier died in the gunfire.
[03:55.44]I’m Jonathan Evans.