The person who crossed the demilitarized zone into North Korea from South Korea last weekend is a North Korean who previously defected south. The South Korean Ministry of Defense assumes this but reports that the information has yet to be verified.
It would be a North Korean who came to South Korea via the same route in November 2020, a man in his thirties. Multiple media outlets report that the man used his experience as a former gymnast to climb a 10-foot fence in the heavily-guarded border area, but authorities have not confirmed that information.
It’s unusual for someone to overflow from the south to the north. Only a handful of cases have been reported in recent years, with thousands of North Koreans defecting to South Korea. They often opt for a route via China and not the demilitarized zone, a dangerous area with many land mines that soldiers heavily guard on both sides.
It is illegal in South Korea to cross the border into the neighbouring country. Recent incidents have raised concerns about the security and speed of the troops guarding the border. For example, the North Korean who has now returned was only arrested half a day after his arrival in South Korea. The military did not immediately notice the man on the return journey as the security equipment spotted him.
North Korea has not yet responded to the South Korean message asking to ensure the safety of the crossing. It is unknown if the man is still alive. Due to the corona pandemic, the regime in Pyongyang has an extra strict border policy. Soldiers should be allowed to shoot people crossing the border. That happened in September 2020 to a South Korean official who was at the border. His body was then burned.