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South Korea easily crossed the border with weapons easily to North By Reuters

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© Reuters. A man stands near a binoculars as he tries to spot the North Korean media outlet Gijungdong at a Dora exhibition site near a non-Korean military base, Paju, South Korea, April 24, 2018. REUTERS / Kim Hong-Ji

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Author Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) – A South Korean soldier has crossed a heavily fenced border into North Korea’s remote areas, South Korean troops said on Sunday.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said they conducted an investigation after finding the man around 9:20 pm (1220 GMT) on Saturday east of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreans.

“We have confirmed that the man crossed the Military Demarcation Line at about 10:40 pm (1340 GMT) and headed north,” JCS said.

The JCS said they could not confirm if the man was alive, but sent a note to the north via a security phone call for security.

Crossing the border, which is not allowed in South Korea, came as North Korea has been fighting the coronavirus since it closed the border in early 2020, although it has not confirmed any infections.

Civil and political unrest erupted when North Korean forces shot dead a South Korean fisherman who went missing at sea in September 2020, when Pyongyang criticized the anti-virus law and apologized.

Two months earlier, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had declared a state of emergency and closed the border town after a North Korean man who said he had signs of COVID-19 crossed the northern border from the south.

North Korea’s long-term closure and interim regional restrictions have also reduced the number of North Korean people arriving in the south.

Cross-border relations have broken down after a nuclear deal between Pyongyang and Washington stalled since the conference failed in 2019.

South Korea is a US-led US-led military force still fighting North Korea since the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in a war rather than a peace treaty.

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