Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Top US negotiator arrives in South Korea amid hopes for easing tensions

President Trump outside the National Cemetery in Seoul on Nov. 8. Credit Jung Yeon-je  Getty Images President Trump outside the National Cemetery in Seoul on Nov. 8. Credit Jung Yeon-je Getty Images
Velma Reese | 14 November, 2017, 10:31

The soldier bolted from a guard post at the northern side of Panmunjom village in the Joint Security Area to the southern side of the village, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"The military has raised its alertness against the North Korean military's possible provocations and is maintaining its full readiness posture", the official said.

He also said "it would be very, very nice" if he and Kim became friends.

This is the fourth defection by a North Korean soldier via the DMZ - one of the world's most heavily guarded strips of land - in the last three years.

Oceans Minister Kim Young-choon on Tuesday interpreted North Korea's recent repatriation of a seized South Korean fishing boat as a "conciliatory gesture", as Seoul seeks to improve cross-border ties.

Monday was the first time since 2007 a North Korean soldier had defected across the JSA.

A 58-year-old man from Louisiana was arrested by South Korean forces Monday morning for crossing the civilian control line just outside the DMZ as part of an attempt to get into North Korea "for political purposes", authorities said.

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South Korean officials have yet to identify where the soldier came from or what his intentions were.

Panmunjomis where an armistice was signed to pause the Korean War. More than a million mines are believed to be buried inside the zone.

"The defector was urgently transferred to a hospital in a helicopter of the United Nations Command, and there was no exchange of fire with our side", a South Korean defense ministry official told Reuters.

Trump is at the end of his 12-day tour to Asia where he's meeting with leaders and addressing the denuclearization of North Korea.

After being shot, he took cover near a building on the southern side of the JSA before South Korean and American troops came to his aid.

Remarks by Xi reflect ongoing Chinese concern over the missile defense systemChina's decision to raise the THAAD deployment during the South Korea-China summit puts the spotlight back on an issue assumed to have been settled during deliberations on October 31.

He added that Russian Federation, like South Korea, has deep interest in the peace of the Korean Peninsula, emphasizing it is his country's persistent stance.

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