Dramatic footage has been released showing a defector’s dramatic dash for freedom from North Korea across the Demilitarised Zone to the South.
The video, released by United Nations Command, shows North Korean border guards were only steps behind their former comrade when they opened fire and briefly crossed into South Korea in pursuit of the wounded defector.
The soldier, whose rank and identity have not been disclosed, was flown by a US military helicopter to a hospital after his escape to South Korea in a hail of bullets fired by North Korean soldiers on November 13.
Watch the dramatic footage below:
An official from UNC said North Korea had been informed on Wednesday that it had violated the 1953 armistice agreement, which marked the cessation of hostilities in the Korean War.
The UNC official told a news conference that a soldier from the North Korean People’s Army (KPA) had crossed the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), the border between the two Koreas, for a few seconds as others fired shots at the defecting soldier.
“The key findings of the special investigation team are that the KPA violated the armistice agreement by one, firing weapons across the MDL, and two, by actually crossing the MDL temporarily,” Chad Carroll, Director of Public Affairs for the UNC, told reporters.
The video showed a military vehicle speeding toward the border, passing checkpoints manned by North Korean guards before appearing to get stuck in a ditch.
North Korean soldiers were only a few metres away when the defector jumped from the vehicle and fled on foot, scrambling up slightly rising ground to cross the border.
Moments later, a handful of North Korea soldiers are seen running toward the abandoned vehicle and stopping to open fire, though one appears to briefly cross the dividing line between the two countries before turning around.
The video does not show the moment when the defector was hit by half a dozen rounds fired by the North Korean guards, but he eventually collapses next to a concrete wall.
Three South Korean troops, including the deputy commander of the border security unit, are seen crawling through undergrowth to drag the wounded North Korean to safety.
The video was released hours after the defector regained consciousness in hospital.
Media reports say his first request was to listen to South Korean pop music, or K-Pop.
He he also requested access to television and was being shown South Korean movies, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Wednesday.
“We believe the most life-threatening moment has now passed,” a government official was quoted as saying by the agency.
Medical staff say that he is traumatised from his ordeal.
“To provide psychological stability a South Korean flag has been placed hanging on the hospital room wall,” the government official told Yonhap.