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(LEAD) N. Korean soldier crosses border to defect to S. Korea

All News 23:43 June 23, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 3-4)

SEOUL, June 23 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea on Friday after crossing the border between the two divided countries, Seoul's military said.

"A North Korean soldier defected to our GP at around 9:30 p.m. at the middle section of the border," according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). "He is in our custody and our military is now investigating why and how he defected."

There was no exchange of fire between the two sides when the North Korean soldier came south.

The soldier expressed his intention to defect after reaching the GP inside the Demilitarized Zone bisecting the two Koreas, military sources said.

His defection came more than a week after another North Korean soldier crossed the border on June 13.

On Sunday, a North Korean man also crossed the northern part of the mouth of the Han River to defect to South Korea. He was said to have swum south with plastic foam pieces on both shoulders to stay afloat.

The two Koreas remain technically at war since the Korean War (1950-53) ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.
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