SEOUL: A North Korean military officer, accompanied by a civilian, defected to the South across the Yellow Sea on Saturday, a South Korean news report said, citing a government source. “A small boat was spotted in waters off the north of Baengnyeong Island” near the inter-Korean border, the source told Yonhap news agency, adding that the officer, who holds the rank of major, and a civilian were aboard the vessel. “They expressed willingness to defect,” he said. A Korea Coast Guard official said relevant authorities were investigating the case, declining to give details. The defection was the 14th involving a North Korean soldier since 2000. The last defection by a North Korean military officer took place in 2008, YTN TV said. It is the first defection by any North Korean since a historic summit between the two Koreas which saw their leaders agree to pursue the denuclearization of the peninsula and a permanent peace.

AFP