The United Nations Command has completed their investigation of a North Korean soldier’s defection to South Korea last week, and has released harrowing video footage of the incident, during which the defector sustained multiple gun shot wounds before he was dragged to safety by Joint Security Area troops in a daring rescue mission.
On November 13, a soldier from the Korean People’s Army (KPA) executed a stunning escape from North Korea while his former comrades chased and shot at him.
Surveillance footage of the event has been released by UN Command (UNC), with an accompanying report that details multiple violations of the 1953 Armistice Agreement by KPA troops who crossed the Militarized Demarcation Line (MDL) in pursuit of the defector, while also firing rounds across the MDL in the direction of South Korean territory.
“The key findings of the Special Investigation Team include the KPA violated the UN Armistice Agreement twice during the event by firing weapons across the MDL and when one KPA soldier actually temporarily crossed the MDL. UNC personnel at the JSA notified KPA of these violations today through normal communications channel in Panmunjom and requested a meeting to discuss the investigation results and measures to prevent future such violations. The investigation team furthermore determined JSA security battalion personnel took appropriate actions during the incident which resulted in de-escalation of tensions and no loss of life.”
“After thoroughly reviewing the investigation results, I assess the actions taken by the UNC Security Battalion were in a manner that is consistent with the Armistice Agreement, namely – to respect the Demilitarized Zone and to take actions that deter a resumption of hostilities,” said Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, UNC Commander. “The armistice agreement was challenged, but it remains in place.”
In the video, a KPA military jeep can be seen speeding towards the MDL before crashing into a ditch and becoming immobilized.
The defector abandons the jeep to continue his getaway on foot while KPA troops pursue and discharge their rifles and handguns at him.
After sustaining at least four gunshot wounds, the defector can be seen lying in a pile of leaves, from which he is rescued by Joint Security Area troops and later flown to a South Korea hospital for medical attention.
Doctors have determined that the defector is expected to recover and survive, but that he is deeply traumatized, physically and psychologically.
His surgeries were complicated by numerous parasites found in his intestines, including “an enormous number” of worms measuring up to 11 inches long, which could support suppositions that North Koreans are victims of extremely poor diet and a lack of hygiene.
“In my over-20-year-long career as a surgeon, I have only seen something like this in a textbook,” lead surgeon, Lee Cook-jong, told the Guardian.
According to Yonhap News Agency, the wounded defector is now conscious and is being pacified with South Korean music and television.
“The soldier has regained consciousness and he requested to watch television,” a government official told Yonhap. “For the soldier’s psychological comfort, we’ve shown the patient South Korean movies and he has recovered enough to watch television.”
US President Donald Trump recently addressed the South Korean National Assembly, where he denounced North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un for committing ‘crimes against God and man,’ while highlight the stark contrast between liberated South Korea and their brutally oppressed neighbors to the north.