- Video footage from a North Korean defector’s escape shows North Korean soldiers violating the UN Armistice Agreement.
- The soldiers fired their weapons and crossed the border in their attempts to catch the defector.
- US-South Korean forces have requested a meeting with North Korea to “prevent future such violations.”
Following the release of the dramatic footage behind the escape of a North Korean defector who fled to the South Korean side of the border between the two countries, the United Nations Command (UNC) formally accused North Korea of violating a longstanding agreement between the two countries.
“The [Korean People’s Army] violated the UN Armistice Agreement twice during the event by firing weapons across the MDL and when one KPA soldier actually temporarily crossed the [Military Demarcation Line],” a statement from United States Forces Korea said
Footage from nearby cameras show North Korean soldiers firing their weapons at the fleeing defector – which appear to violate the agreement’s rule prohibiting the two sides from engaging in “any hostile act within, from, or against the demilitarized zone”:
Some 40 rounds were reportedly fired, and the defector was shot five to six times, South Korean officials said in a Reuters report. South Korean forces eventually rescued the soldier, who later underwent multiple surgeries and was reportedly in stable condition.
In their attempts to subdue the defector, one KPA soldier could also be seen crossing the MDL – the line dividing North and South Korea – before returning back to the North side of the de-facto border, according to the UNC:
The armistice agreement states: “No person, military or civilian, in the demilitarized zone shall be permitted to enter the territory under the military control of either side unless specifically authorized to do so by the Commander into whose territory entry is sought.”
The UNC said that the KPA had been notified of its violation and requested a meeting to “prevent future such violations.”
South Korean officials have also echoed the sentiment by condemning the KPA’s hostilities.
“This is a violation of the armistice agreement,” a South Korean military official said in the Korea JoonAng Daily. “We plan to lodge a serious protest against North Korea through the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission.”
The armistice, signed in 1953 by US-South Korean, North Korean, and Chinese forces, effectively ended the Korean War. Though the agreement resulted in ceasefire, the two countries are technically still at war, and South Korea has accused the North of violating the agreement numerous times over the years.