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North Korean soldier shot while defecting to South Korea

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Trump believes NK nukes greater threat than alleged Russian meddling: aide

The demilitarized zone between the two countries splits the Korean Peninsula from east to west, and is fortified with landmines, fences and guard posts.

An official with the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said the North's border guards fired at least 40 rounds.

We are disappointed at the way our military reacted to the shootings on Monday by North Korean guards at a fellow soldier who defected to South Korea through the Joint Security Area (JSA) in Panmunjom.

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

More than 30,000 North Koreans have defected to the South since the end of the 1950-53 war, but it's rare for soldiers to flee across the DMZ, much less the JSA. An estimated 1,000 people flee Kim Jong Un's volatile regime each year, but going through the DMZ - fortified with land mines, barbed wires and machine guns - have been extremely rare because of the risky conditions. That, DiMaggio said, "has sent a clear signal to the North Koreans: Why should they enter a deal with us, if we're not going to stick with it?"

The soldier was airlifted to a hospital south of Seoul after he was found bleeding under a pile of leaves Monday in the truce village of Panmunjom, the only point in the DMZ where both sides come face to face.

A JCS official quoted by Yonhap news agency said the South's soldiers heard a gunshot and then retrieved the unarmed soldier in the mid-afternoon.

Suzanne DiMaggio, a director at the think tank New America, told Politico that North Korean officials are confused by the USA president's increasingly "erratic behaviour" and "really want to know what his end game is". They stand only several meters (yards) away from tall South Korean soldiers wearing aviator sunglasses and standing motionless like statues.

Panmunjomis where an armistice was signed to pause the Korean War.

"He believes that after years of investigations, of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, there is zero evidence of any ballot being impacted by Russian interference", Short said in an interview on NBC.

All channels for dialogue are now cut off between Seoul and Pyongyang after North Korea's relentless development of nuclear weapons and missiles.

North Korea has typically accused South Korea of enticing its citizens to defect, something the South denies.

Areas around Panmunjom were the site of bloodshed and defection attempts by North Koreans in the past, but there have been no such incidents in recent years.

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