• Marine Corps General Sacked Over Defector's Border Crossing

Officials inspect a drain that runs under barbed wire fences in the northern part of Ganghwa Island.
Officials inspect a drain that runs under barbed wire fences in the northern part of Ganghwa Island.
The South Korean military has decided to dismiss a two-star Marine Corps general after troops failed to stop a North Korean defector from crossing over the heavily fortified border back to his communist homeland.

Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Friday that it will relieve the commander of the 2nd Marine Division and issue a stern warning to the commanders of the Marine Corps and the Army's Capital Corps over the border security failure.

The JCS also made public the results of its inspection of the defection site on Ganghwa Island.

It said fences set up inside a drainage tunnel running underneath barbed wire fences on the border were in poor condition, allowing the defector to pass through them easily.

They also found problems with vigilance and monitoring in the area, and vowed to make improvements.

Officials came to learn about the 24-year-old defector, surnamed Kim, after North Korea reported on Sunday that a "runaway" returned home in the border city of Kaesong with coronavirus symptoms, leading to an emergency lockdown of the entire city to prevent the spread of the virus.

<Photo: Yonhap News>


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