|The drain that runs under barbed wire fences in the northern part of Ganghwa Island, west of Seoul, which may have been used by a North Korean defector to return home. July 27, 2020. (Photo by=Yonhap)|
[아시아뉴스통신=레악카나 기자] The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) decided to relieve a two-star Marine Corps general of his command over a border security failure in connection with a North Korean defector's recent return to his communist homeland, officials said Friday.
The border crossing near the western island of Ganghwa by the 24-year-old man, surnamed Kim, became known after North Korea reported Sunday that a "runaway" returned home in the border city of Kaesong with coronavirus symptoms and that the entire city was blocked off to prevent the spread of the virus.South Korean officials said Kim had been under investigation over allegations he raped a female defector.
According to the JCS' probe results, Kim was caught on the military's surveillance equipment seven times but troops failed to identify him as a person trying to cross the border.The defector passed through a drainage tunnel running underneath barbed wire fences to evade South Korean border guards and swam a few kilometers to North Korea.It took only 10 minutes for Kim to reach the river separating the two Koreas.
The JCS will seek disciplinary measures against those accountable, including the dismissal of Maj. Gen. Baek Gyeong-sun as commander of the Marine Corps' 2nd Division in charge of border security at the area, officials said.