Another North Korean defector made a mad dash towards freedom at the de-militarized zone between North and South Korea Thursday, prompting soldiers in the South to fire multiple warning shots across the heavily fortified border, reports the Wall Street Journal.
According to South Korean officials, a “junior ranking defector” bolted from his post, running across the northwestern section of the DMZ at approximately 8am.
North Korean guards were desperately searching for the defector hours later, violating decades of international law and illegally crossing into the South.
In response, South Korean soldiers fired roughly 20 warning shots at the communist guards, forcing them back into the hermit kingdom.
Last month, another North Korean defector made a last-ditch effort to reach the South, stealing a military vehicle and racing towards freedom. The unidentified soldier eventually made it across the DMZ, after being shot at least six times by his former comrades.
While defections from the brutal regime are not uncommon, the easiest and safest route is normally through China. According to experts, there have been less than a handful of people who managed to successfully cross the DMZ in the last decade.
ON THE BRINK: China Prepares for 'Surprise Attack' Near North Korea
The Chinese government is practicing for a major armed conflict on the Korean peninsula, carrying out massive military drills in preparation for a “surprise attack” should all-out war erupt in the region, reports Reuters.
According to sources in Beijing, the Chinese air force simulated an attack from the sea earlier this week, mobilizing its anti-aircraft systems and strategic defense battalions. Troops from the Chinese army also took part in the drill.
“The troops rapid response capabilities and actual combat levels have effectively been tested,” said a statement from an official Chinese military website.
The Chinese drills comes as tensions on the Korean peninsula remain at an all-time high, with the United States and South Korea conducting war games in the region and North Korea successfully testing a nuclear explosion over the weekend.
The United States has ratcheted up its war-of-words with Korean dictator Kim Jong Un following the test, saying the communist nation was “begging for a war” with the US and its allies. In response, Kim warned President Trump to prepare for more “gift packages” from the hermit kingdom.
ON THE BRINK: Global Powers Conduct Drills Around Korea, Prepare for War
The United States, its allies, and other major world powers staged massive military drills surrounding North Korea over the weekend; sending a clear message to Kim Jong Un that countries throughout the region are preparing for a major armed conflict should the dictator continue his nuclear and missile programs.
According to Reuters, the US and South Korea conducted joint air exercises over the Korean peninsula, while Russia and China launched significant naval exercises on Kim’s doorstep ahead of the United Nations General Assembly meeting later this week.
The drills are a firm response to Kim’s missile launch last week, where the despot fired another medium-range ballistic missile over the sovereign territory of Japan before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.
Speaking with to UN members and reporters on Sunday, US ambassador Nikki Haley confirmed that diplomatic solutions towards the “North Korea problem” were rapidly running out, suggesting military options might be necessary to stop Kim’s accelerated nuclear program.
The North Korean regime immediately fired-back at the US, saying “The increased moves of the U.S. and its vassal forces to impose sanctions and pressure… will only increase our pace towards the ultimate completion of the state nuclear force.”