N. Korea soldier flees to South via heavily fortified border

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South Korea says a North Korean soldier has safely defected to the South via a portion of the heavily fortified border rarely visited by outsiders.

North Korean soldiers have occasionally fled through the land border. But Thursday's defection came nearly 40 days after another North Korean solider crossed the jointly controlled area at the border amid a barrage of bullets fired by comrades. He was shot multiple times and remains hospitalized in South Korea.

Seoul's Defense Ministry says there was no shootout when the latest North Korean soldier used a different section of the border to defect.

It says the motive for the defection is under investigation.

About 30,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea mostly via China since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.