Two North Korean civilians found in a fishing boat had also sought to defect, officials in the South said on Thursday. There was no immediate comment from the secretive North about the
The defections come at a time of heightened tension on the Korean peninsula because of North Korea's missile and nuclear programs, which it is pursuing in defiance of international pressure that includes United Nations resolutions.
In the latest North Korean military defection, a low-ranking soldier crossed the border at around 8:04 a.m. (2304 GMT Wednesday), South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman Roh Jae-cheon said. No shots were fired at the soldier, Roh said.
Surveillance equipment detected the defecting soldier despite heavy fog that limited visibility to about 100 meters (110 yards), Roh later told a briefing. "Today a North Korean soldier defected through our military's general outpost in the centre-western region," Roh said. "Our military secured his safety, and a questioning will be conducted by related agencies to find out the background of his defection and motive, etc," he said.