A three-carrier naval force is finishing a multi-day exercise in the Western Pacific, demonstrating the Navy's unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated effort, according to Navy officials.
More than 30,000 North Koreans have defected to the South since the end of the 1950-53 war, but it's rare for soldiers to flee across the DMZ, much less the JSA.
Lee Guk-jong, a doctor at the hospital, said the soldier suffered serious injuries and was in critical condition.
To protect the family, CNN is using the pseudonym Mr. Lee, and is blurring the faces of the family in photographs.
The area is a popular place for tourists and visiting officials, not least because once inside the blue meeting huts that straddle the border, visitors can technically cross the line, although soldiers guard the doors out to the other side.
In Monday's incident, it wasn't known if the North continued firing after the defector was officially in the southern part of the Joint Security Area.
"There's no big message" intended for North Korea or anyone else, he told reporters in an impromptu exchange in a Pentagon hallway. "Starvation is natural, human rights abuses. many are beaten to death by the guards".
The Joint Security Area was the site of some bloodshed during the Cold War but there hasn't been major violence there in recent years.
Increased border controls by both North Korea and China are thought to be the primary reason for the drop. Its military had not given any indication of unusual movements on Tuesday, the South's military said.
Two American soldiers also were killed in the DMZ by ax-wielding North Korean soldiers in a 1976 brawl over an attempt to trim a poplar tree.
A UN agency said today the North Korean soldier who crossed over to South Korea on Monday was "shot six times by North Korean border troops" as he made his way across the heavily guarded border separating the two countries.
South Korea's military is keeping its full combat readiness against North Korea's possible provocations as the North's soldiers are preparing for their monthslong winter training, the South's military said Monday. That prompted Washington to send nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to intimidate the North before the adversaries pulled back from the brink of conflict.
But this incident marks the first time since the Korean War ended in an armistice in 1953 that shots have been fired through the Joint Security Area, defense minister Song Young-moo told lawmakers in Seoul on Tuesday.