World War 3: North Korea Situation Report
A North Korean soldier fled to South Korea through the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the inter-Korean land border, Thursday, followed by gunfire from both sides, the South’s military said.
The “low-ranking” soldier appeared in front of a guard post on the mid-western front at around 8:04 a.m. amid thick fog, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
After the defection, the North’s border guards approached the military demarcation line (MDL) apparently in search of the defector, a JCS official told reporters.
In response, the South’s troops fired some 20 warning shots at around 9:30 a.m., he said.
Roughly 40 minutes later, there was the sound of several gunshots from the North, but no bullets were found to have crossed the border, he added.
In a separate announcement, the Unification Ministry said two North Korean people aboard a small wooden boat defected to the South on Wednesday.
“The Navy found it in waters about 100 kilometers north of Dokdo during a patrol mission,” a ministry official said at a press briefing. “A joint probe into the details of their identities is under way.”
The North Korean men expressed their intent to defect and agreed to abandon the aged and apparently damaged ship, added the official.
Last month, a North Korean soldier made a successful dash to the South via the truce village of Panmunjom after suffering multiple gunshot wounds fired by the communist nation’s border guards.
An official tally of the JCS shows that 15 North Korean people, including four soldiers, have fled directly to the South this year, versus one soldier and four civilians in 2016.
North Korea on Wednesday rejected U.S. allegations that it is developing biological weapons, saying that the claim is part of Washington’s scheme to stifle the regime.
The Trump government’s first National Security Strategy released Monday said that the North is pursuing chemical and biological weapons that could also be delivered by missile.
“The DPRK, as a state party to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), maintains its consistent stand to oppose development, manufacture, stockpiling and possession of biological weapons,” the North’s Institute for American Studies, affiliated with the foreign ministry, was quoted as saying by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The DPRK is the abbreviation for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The North became a BWC signatory in 1987.
The institute said that the “groundless” claim by U.S. experts and media is nothing but the country’s move to isolate Pyongyang and justify its sanctions and pressure on the regime.
“The more the U.S. clings to the anti-DPRK stifling move…,the more hardened the determination of our entire military personnel and people to take revenge will be…,” the report said.
Pyongyang is estimated to have 13 types of pathogens such as anthrax and clostridium botulinum that can be used as biological weapons, according to a 2016 report by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses.