North Korea defection: Soldier ‘walked across DMZ in fog’

A North Korean soldier has walked across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to defect, the South's military has said.

The "low-ranking" soldier emerged from thick fog at a checkpoint shortly after 08:00 (23:00 Wednesday) reported South Korean media.

No shots were fired during the incident and Seoul is now investigating the soldier's intentions, said South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He is the fourth North Korean soldier to defect this year.

It comes weeks after one of the most dramatic defections in recent times.

In that incident, on 13 November, a soldier was shot as he fled across to the southern side of the Joint Security Area (JSA) in the village of Panmunjom.

South Korea's national broadcaster KBS said Thursday's defection occurred along the border in Gangwon province.

Very few North Korean defectors risk crossing to the South via the DMZ.

One of the world's most heavily guarded strips of land, the DMZ is a thin buffer zone dividing the two Koreas and is fortified on both sides with barbed wire, surveillance cameras, electric fencing and landmines.

Last month's defection saw a soldier drive a jeep right up to the border, in a dramatic escape captured on surveillance cameras.

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He ran across to the South in a hail of bullets from North Korean guards, who gave chase.

Shot five times, the soldier collapsed in a pile of leaves on the South's side, and was later rescued by South Korean soldiers.

His recovery, which included overcoming a bout of worm contamination of his wounds, has been closely tracked by South Korean media.

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