North Korean soldier shot 'by own army' while defecting to South Korea

This image shows three U.S. aircraft carriers

The number of North Koreans defecting to South Korea in the first two-thirds of this year dropped by 13% compared with 2016.

The defector, dressed in a combat uniform, was unarmed, Al Jazeera reported.

South Korean forces have identified him only as "A" and said the man arrived in the country on Friday.

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) is escorted into Busan port, South Korea, after completing a joint drill with the South Korean military.

According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff here, South Korean guards were alerted by the sound of gunfire north of the border and found the soldier lying on the ground about 50 m south of the military demarcation line west of Freedom House around 3:30 p.m.

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South Korean soldiers ride on an armored vehicle during a South Korea/United States combined training exercise at the U.S. Army's Rodriguez shooting range in Pocheon, northeast of Seoul, Sep. Panmunjom is a village situated on the borders of North and South Korea. They stand only several yards away from tall South Korean soldiers wearing aviator sunglasses and standing motionless like statues. Jointly controlled by the American-led U.N. Command and North Korea, the DMZ is guarded on both sides by hundreds of thousands of combat-ready troops, razor-wire fences and tank traps.

The defection comes amid tension between the two Koreas, and between the United States and the North. Trump's lengthy trip centered on trade and the North Korean missile and nuclear crisis. The attack prompted Washington to fly nuclear-capable B-52 bombers toward the DMZ in an attempt to intimidate North Korea.

South Korea and the United States were also conducting joint military drills in the East Sea utilizing three US aircraft carriers.

It was not immediately known how serious the soldier's injuries were or why he made a decision to defect.

The Associated Press contribute to this report.

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