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Defecting North Korean soldier shot several times after abandoning escape auto

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President Trump outside the National Cemetery in Seoul on Nov. 8. Credit Jung Yeon-je  Getty Images

The stunning escape occurred Monday at a jointly controlled area that is the only point where soldiers from the two sides face each other in the Demilitarized Zone.

South Korean naval vessels will participate in the drill in waters off the east coast, the South's joint chiefs of staff said in a statement.

"Until this morning, we heard he had no consciousness and was unable to breathe on his own but his life can be saved", Suh said. A statement released by China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 12 said that Xi had reconfirmed China's position on deploying THAAD in South Korea during his meeting with Moon the previous day. Its military had not given any indication of unusual movements on Tuesday, the South's military said.

North Korea has typically accused South Korea of enticing its citizens to defect, something the South denies.

The man, identified only as "A", arrived in South Korea three days earlier. The U.S. Embassy in Seoul could not be reached for comment.

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The soldier, who was not armed, was flown in a U.N. Command helicopter to an operating theater where doctors began working to save him even before he was out of a uniform that indicated he held a lower rank, Suh said. They stand only several yards away from tall South Korean soldiers wearing aviator sunglasses and standing motionless like statues.

"He has at least six gunshot wounds on his body and the penetrating wound in the abdomen is the most serious", Lee Cook-Jong told reporters.

South Korean soldiers did not fire their weapons, but Monday's incident occurred at a time of high animosity over North Korea's nuclear program and Pyongyang has expressed intense anger over past high-profile defections. The US has around 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea. "This is not sealed up", said Kim Heung-gyu, director of Ajou University's China Policy Institute, in a nod to the South Korea's government's choice of expressions.

He added that Russian Federation, like South Korea, has deep interest in the peace of the Korean Peninsula, emphasizing it is his country's persistent stance.

It's the first time since a 2007 exercise near Guam that three U.S. carrier strike groups are operating together in the Western Pacific, according to the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet.

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