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South Korea’s military commenced their search at around 7:26pm local time. Speculation from the army holds that the trespasser was a North Korean looking to defect over to the south. It comes as South Korea and the US have begun keeping a closer eye on Kim Jong-un’s primary nuclear facility, after the country made huge strides in missiles and warheads earlier this year.
Yonhap News Agency, from South Korea, reported surveillance equipment picked up the trespass from the North.
They added the individual is believed to have crossed the inter-Korean border near the eastern county of Goseong from the North late Tuesday, with troops carrying out manhunt operations to find them.
Forces have been placed on “Jindogae” alert, which is issued to cope with a possible intrusion of armed guerrillas from North Korea.
Yonhap also reported it is not immediately known whether the individual is a civilian or a military member, and exactly how they crossed the border.
The BBC’s Laura Bicker also added that the country’s Ministry of Defence only confirmed that the search operation was underway, and would release an update when it had concluded.
At around 9:50am local time, Reuters reported the man was found at the east end of the demilitarised zone dividing the two Koreas.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff added there was seemingly no unusual movement from North Korean troops.
They added in a statement: “An investigation is planned to find out details about the man, including how he had come down and whether he wished to defect.”
More than 30,000 North Korean’s have escaped to the South over the last 65 years.
Last year saw a North Korean soldier abandon their position by crossing the river in the DMZ.
In 2017, a North Korean solider was shot by his fellow troops will running through the border village of Panmunjom.
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North Korea has recently begun cracking down on border crossing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Authorities have ordered border guards to shoot anyone crossing into the country and to “burn their bodies”, after a South Korean fisheries official was shot dead last month.
Speaking to Daily North Korean, a North Korean military source said: “The order aims to highlight to the Korean People’s Army that the killing of the South Korean was part of quarantine efforts.
“It also reaffirms guidelines from the military leadership that under no circumstances will the slightest hesitation or unrest be permitted in the military.”
Both countries have upped surveillance on the other after North Korea unveiled new nuclear missiles at the 75th anniversary parade of the ruling Worker’s Party.
South Korea and the US are also monitoring Yongbyon, North Korea’s primary nuclear facility, after the site was reported to have resumed operations.
Yongbyon was severely damaged in August’s flooding, but October satellite images showed smoke coming out of the facility and rail cars back at the site.
Colonel Kim Jun-rak, spokesman for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters during a regular briefing: “South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities are carefully tracking and monitoring related movements while working closely together”.
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