Treasury targets North Korean, Chinese shipping companies with new sanctions

23 November, 2017, 00:15 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • North Korea leader Kim Jong-un inspects a Kwasong-14 missile before the July 4 launch that astounded the world

It's 3:11 p.m. on a cold, gray day on the North Korean side of the most heavily armed border in the world, and a lone soldier is racing toward freedom. The shock of soldiers watching the jeep rush by is palpable from the video released Wednesday, and no wonder: They're beginning to realize that one of their comrades is defecting to the South. One North Korean soldier briefly crosses the border into the South, a violation of the ceasefire agreement. The defector falls stretched out and unmoving in a pile of leaves against a small wall on the South Korean side.

US authorities have repeatedly targeted companies and individuals from the Chinese city of Dandong, which borders North Korea, in a bid to cut off Pyongyang's major export revenue from selling natural resources, such as coal.

"The agency is closely following the developments because there is a possibility that North Korea could fire an array of ballistic missiles this year under the name of a satellite launch and peaceful development of space, but in fact to ratchet up its threats against the United States", the South Korean lawmakers told the media after a briefing by the spy agency.

The video, captured last week by the UN South Command, shows the moment the soldier drives to the border and runs from his vehicle before North Korean men open fire. Four other North Korean soldiers are seen running toward him and stopping to shoot at him.

The soldier's driving skills were key to his defection across the demilitarized zone (DMZ)'s Joint Security Area (JSA), which has been described as "movie-like." He crashes the jeep into a ditch near the line that divides North and South and the blue huts familiar to anyone who's toured the area.

People walk past a street monitor showing a news report about North Korea's nuclear test in Tokyo Japan
People walk past a street monitor in Tokyo showing a news report about a North Korean nuclear test

While on average more than 1,000 North Koreans defect to the South every year, most travel via China and it is unusual for a North Korean to cross the land border dividing the two Koreas, which have been in a technical state of war since their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

A meeting with North Korea has now been requested by the UNC to discuss "measures to prevent future such violations".

"The patient will not die", surgeon Lee Cook-jong of South Korea's Ajou University Hospital said, according to the Korea Herald.

An official from UN Command (UNC) said North Korea had been informed on Wednesday that it had violated the 1953 armistice agreement, which marked the cessation of hostilities in the Korean War.

Doctors plan to keep him at an intensive care unit for at least several more days to guard against possible infection, hospital official Shin Mi-jeong said.


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