Nov. 13 (UPI) — A North Korean soldier was shot by Pyongyang forces on Monday while trying to escape through the de-militarized zone between North and South Korea, officials said.
The soldier left his post in the Joint Security Area and ran through the heavily fortified, 2.5-mile neutral zone, a statement from the South Korean military said.
The escaping soldier was found, bleeding, near Freedom House, the reception building on the southern side.
The soldier was hit in the shoulder and arm and was flown to a hospital in a United Nations helicopter after he was found. The United Nations operates the southern side of the DMZ.
The two sides did not exchange gunfire, although the alert level along the DMZ was raised and South Korean troops entered into full readiness mode, Stars and Stripes reported.
Though about 30,000 North Koreans escape to the south each year, it is rare for Pyongyang troops to leave their posts in the Joint Security Area. The last incident occurred in 2007, the South Korea Unification Ministry, which oversees defectors, said.
In 1984, a gun battle erupted as a tourist from the Soviet Union attempted to sun across the demarcation line between the two countries.
The shooting occurred on the same day that South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrived in the Philippines for the ASEAN summit of Pacific Rim countries.