Escaped North Korean soldier fights for life after being shot crossing DMZ

North Korea is seen across the Yalu River from the border with China in a file

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.

A North Korean soldier involved in an extremely rare and dramatic defection to the South was shot six times by his own side as he drove to the heavily guarded border and ran across under a hail of bullets.

US President Donald Trump believes North Korea's nuclear weapons are a greater threat than Russia's alleged interference in his election and wants to work with Moscow to counter that threat, an aide said Sunday.

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

These were the first gunshots fired at the truce village of Panmunjom in 33 years and the first defection of a North Korean soldier since 2007.

About 30,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, with most travel through China. He was unconscious and in critical condition on Tuesday, the surgeon in charge of the soldier's treatment, Lee Cook-jong, told reporters.

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"He then exited the vehicle and continued fleeing south across the line as he was sacked upon by other soldiers from North Korea", UNC said in a statement. The next 10 days will be crucial for his recovery, Lee was quoted as saying by the Yonhap News Agency.

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

He was shot in the shoulder and elbow and was taken to a South Korean hospital, the Defence Ministry said.

Suzanne DiMaggio, a director at the think tank New America, told Politico that North Korean officials are confused by the U.S. president's increasingly "erratic behaviour" and "really want to know what his end game is".

Trump tried to make a surprise visit to the DMZ last week, but his helicopter was forced to turn back to Seoul after heavy fog prevented it from landing at the frontier.

It's unclear what the soldier's conditions are or why he made a decision to defect to the South. In September the North carried out its sixth and largest nuclear test, of what it described as a hydrogen bomb.

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