Tensions have soared between the United States and North Korea following a series of weapons tests by Pyongyang and a string of increasingly bellicose exchanges between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. However, that motive was subsequently ruled out after it was determined he had no "Communist connections".
This comes after President Trump took a tough stance of North Korea's nuclear threat during his historic tour of Asia, saying his administration pursues - quote - "peace through strength". In 1998, a North Korean solider fled to South Korea via Panmunjom.
The US Embassy in Seoul said it had been made aware about the attempt and was looking into the case.
South Korean guards, who were alerted by gunshots, found the North Korean soldier about 55 yards south of Panmunjom, the New York Times reported.
Military officials say North Korea maintained its routine military activities during the joint drills.
A doctor treating the injured soldier - who was helicoptered to a hospital for emergency surgery - said he had been shot half-a-dozen times, including a serious stomach wound. It wasn't immediately known how serious the soldier's injuries were or why he made a decision to defect.
An apparent North Korean soldier who defected to South Korea via the truce village of Panmunjom earlier this week drove a auto to the area, the authorities said Tuesday.
Two North Korean soldiers defected to the South in June after crossing the frontier at another location.
A North Korean guard post is seen in this picture taken from an observation post inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, April 17, 2017. More than a million mines are believed to be buried inside the zone. Trump's lengthy trip centered on trade and the North Korean missile and nuclear crisis.
North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear bomb test on September 3, but has not launched any missiles since firing one over Japan on September 15, the longest such lull this year. Jointly controlled by the American-led U.N. Command and North Korea, the DMZ is guarded on both sides by hundreds of thousands of combat-ready troops, razor-wire fences and tank traps.
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