North Korean defector was shot six times by border troops: UNC

Pic Reuters

Pic Reuters

His age, combined with the demanding itinerary - five countries, three summits and a long string of ceremonies, dinners and meetings- had raised concerns Trump would grow grouchy and distracted. But the Ajou University Medical Center near Seoul said the soldier was relying on a breathing machine after the surgery removed the bullets.

South Korean officials have yet to identify where the soldier came from or what his intentions were. The incident left three North Korean soldiers and one South Korean soldier dead.

According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff here, South Korean guards were alerted by the sound of gunfire north of the border and found the soldier lying on the ground about 50 m south of the military demarcation line west of Freedom House around 3:30 p.m.

President Xi Jinping's special envoy, Song Tao, will head to North Korea on Friday to discuss the Chinese Communist Party's congress, which took place last month, Xinhua news agency said, without providing more details.

A three-carrier naval force is finishing a multi-day exercise in the Western Pacific, demonstrating the Navy's unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated effort, according to Navy officials.

The North's official media haven't reported the case as of Tuesday afternoon.

Vice President Mike Pence visited the area in September, warning Pyongyang not to test the United States' "strength and resolve". Jointly controlled by the American-led U.N. Command and North Korea, the DMZ is guarded on both sides by hundreds of thousands of combat-ready troops, razor-wire fences and tank traps.

China's foreign ministry said last week it was unaware of the 10 defectors arrested, "China consistently upholds the handling of such matters in accordance with domestic and international law and humanitarian principles". The JSA provides the adversaries with a neutral zone and has been the site of past dialogue.

As tensions have surged China has backed a series of United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang and imposed banking restrictions on North Koreans, putting the Cold War-era allies at odds.

Although there have been a handful of defections across the DMZ in recent years, escapes through the tense Joint Security Area are rare. "Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face", Trump said during a speech before South Korea's National Assembly in Seoul last Tuesday.

"Since it was an area exposed to the North, we had to crawl toward there to get him out", the official added.

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