News / Asia

South Korean Military Kills Man Attempting to Enter North

South Korean army soldiers walk by barricades set up on Unification Bridge near the border village of Panmunjom.South Korean army soldiers walk by barricades set up on Unification Bridge near the border village of Panmunjom.
x
South Korean army soldiers walk by barricades set up on Unification Bridge near the border village of Panmunjom.
South Korean army soldiers walk by barricades set up on Unification Bridge near the border village of Panmunjom.
Reuters
South Korea's military shot and killed a man who was making a rare attempt to enter North Korea by floating across a river that runs near the heavily militarized border, the defense ministry said today. “In yesterday's operation we found a John Doe who was trying to defect to North Korea through the Imjin River and our guard forces intercepted the defector by shooting him down,” said South Korean Brigadier General Cho Jong-sul at the defense ministry's regular news briefing.
 
The ministry hasn't stated whether or not the man was South Korean. “As a result of the field investigation after the body was transported, he was confirmed as a man with a surname 'Nam' as we checked a passport, which was one of his belongings. In the process of a joint investigation, the passport was confirmed as his,” said Cho.
 
Cho went on to say that South Korean guards had called out to the man to return, but he ignored the instructions, jumped into the Imjin River and clung to a buoy to try to float across. He added that the shooting was justified as the identity of the man was unknown and he could have been a North Korean soldier.
 
Cho said he was told by the investigation team that the man was deported from Japan after his political refugee application was rejected. South and North Korea remain technically at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended only with an armistice. It is illegal to cross the border to the North without permission. 
 
Instances of trying to cross the frontier in such a fashion in broad daylight are extremely rare. South Koreans wishing to travel to the reclusive North, which is accused by Western countries and defectors of systematic human rights violations, generally make their way through China.
 
Tens of thousands of North Koreans are believed to be in China and trying to come to the South. It is estimated that around 25,000 have so far made it to South Korea. The shooting comes amid a thaw in ties between North and South, with the reopening on Monday of the jointly-run Kaesong industrial zone just over the border in North Korea. The complex was shut down last April by North Korea as it issued daily threats to attack the South and its ally, the United States. The two sides also plan to hold more discussions on improving the operations of the factory park and are slated to hold reunions of families separated during the Korean War later this month.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More