By AJ Fabino
An American soldier has been detained in North Korea after crossing the Military Demarcation Line, according to a senior U.S. official who spoke to Fox News.
“North Korea is reported to have detained the serving US army soldier who crossed the heavily-fortified border from South Korea without permission,” said BBC reports.
The man was on an organized tour of the UN-run zone dividing the two countries.
“The crisis comes during a particularly tense time with the North, one of the world’s most isolated states. US citizens are advised not to go there.The American military has said he did so “willfully and without authorization,” said BBC news.
The incident took place during a tour of the joint security area between North and South Korea, where the individual reportedly crossed the line without authorization.
The U.N. Command confirmed the unauthorized crossing, saying the U.S. national is now believed to be in custody in North Korea. Efforts are underway to resolve the incident, with the peacekeeping force working alongside their Korean People’s Army counterparts, according to the Fox report.
As of now, the identity of the detained soldier remains unknown.
Instances of individuals defecting to North Korea from either the U.S. or South Korea are rare.
“Associated Press data shows that over 30,000 North Koreans have fled to South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953, seeking refuge from political oppression and economic challenges,” said the Fox report.
The Korean border village of Panmunjom, located within the Demilitarized Zone, serves as a joint area overseen by both the U.N. Command and North Korea. It was established at the conclusion of the Korean War.
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