More than 1,500 residents in the southeastern port city of Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, have been displaced by Wednesday’s 5.4 magnitude earthquake and a series of aftershocks following the initial tremor.
The Pohang earthquake on Wednesday that has rekindled national anxiety over the safety of nuclear power plants — mostly located in the southeastern part of the Korean Peninsula — is likely to add momentum to the Moon Jae-in government’s nuclear-free energy road map.
Anti-nuclear groups here anticipate the agenda may even rethink the recent decision to continue with the construction of new reactors.
Presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday that South Korea has no authority to change the rules of engagement applied to the Joint Security Area amid controversy over its soldiers’ decision not to return fire at North Korean soldiers who were chasing a defecting soldier.
A Cheong Wa Dae official said the authority to change the rules falls under the United Nations Command. The UNC assumes operational control of the JSA, where the North Korean soldier had crossed toward the UNC-controlled area under about 40 rounds of heavy fire from his former comrades.
And that is part of the problem. Who runs South Korea – the UN, China or North Korea?
The North Korean soldier who dashed across the border to defect is a 20-something noncommissioned officer who had served at the Joint Security Area in the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone, South Korea’s spy agency said Thursday.
Four of the soldier’s former comrades chased him toward the Demilitarized Zone, the de facto border between the two Koreas. They shot at him about 40 times. It is unclear whether they continued to shoot after the solider crossed the Military Demarcation Line and entered the territory controlled by the United Nations Command.
When he was found under a pile of leaves south of the MDL, he was unarmed and wearing a Korean People’s Army Uniform. He was also bloodied from gunshots to his shoulder, elbow and abdomen. He was rescued by South Korean soldiers and transported to a local hospital.
“His rank amounts to staff sergeant,” the National Intelligence Service was quoted as saying by Rep. Kim Byung-kee, who attended the closed-door meeting. “Regarding his personal belongings, we didn’t find anything special.”