The South Korean military said on Sunday that an unidentified man had entered North Korea via land from the south on New Year’s Day, a very rare crossing of the highly-fortified border that separates the two countries since 1953.
South Korea’s Joint Leaders’ Group said on Saturday that the man had been identified by surveillance equipment in the “militarized zone” (DMZ) that divides the Korean Peninsula at 9:20 pm local time. “It has been confirmed that the man crossed the military border line to the north.”, Adds to the message.
A group official said the man had not yet been identified and that South Korean authorities had sent a message to North Korean officials about the incident. The military’s search and rescue operation was in vain. The report further stated that no extraordinary action was taken on the part of the North Korean military.
In the decades following the Korean War (1950-1953), oppression and poverty in North Korea led to more than 30,000 people fleeing to the south, but it is very rare to cross in any other direction.
In 2020, Pyongyang said North Korean troops shot and burned the body of a South Korean fisheries officer who had crossed the maritime border illegally. The majority of North Koreans are first fleeing, usually heading to China via another country before heading south. Only a handful have dared to cross the DMZ, which is riddled with landmines and barricades and has a large military presence on both sides.