North Korea Defector Regains Consciousness, Footage Shows Getaway Under Fire

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"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.

It was later determined that North Korean forces fired 40 rounds, and doctors said the defector was shot five to six times.

Gen. Vincent Brooks, the commander of U.S. Forces in Korea and the head of U.N. Command, said the service members on the southern side "took appropriate actions" during the incident to de-escalate tensions and prevent anyone being killed.

Doctors announced on Wednesday that he had regained consciousness, and they had two operations to extract the bullets, and his breathing was stable and unassisted.

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

Nine days ago, a North Korean soldier managed to make his way across the border between North Korea and South Korea, one of the most unsafe stretches of land in the world.

UN Command spokesman Colonel Chad Carroll said one of the North Korean border guards also physically crossed the border "for a few seconds" in pursuit of the defecting soldier.

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Video footage shows the soldier crashing a military jeep before making his escape, sprinting towards the border while under fire.

It unfolded November 13 in the Joint Security Area, which is overseen by both the American-led U.N. Command and North Korea and lies inside the 4-kilometer (2 1/2-mile) -wide Demilitarized Zone that has been the de facto border between the Koreas since the war.

One of the pursuing guards appears to briefly cross the dividing line between the two countries before turning around.

The defection, subsequent surgeries and slow recovery of the soldier have riveted South Korea, but it will be a huge embarrassment for the North, which claims all defections are the result of rival Seoul kidnapping or enticing North Koreans to defect.

North Korean soldiers were only a few meters away when the defector jumped from the vehicle and fled on foot, scrambling up slightly rising ground to cross the border.

Doctors conducted a series of surgeries on the critically wounded soldier, and now say they believe he will recover, despite continued risks of infection.

The soldier show signs of depression and possible trauma, in addition to a serious case of parasites that has complicated his treatment, the hospital said.

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