A North Korean man crossed the inter-Korean border and defected to South Korea, a military official said Wednesday.
The man in his early 20s passed through the heavily armed border and was spotted by South Korean soldiers patrolling a frontline guard post at around 5 p.m. on Tuesday in Cheorwon County, some 120 kilometers northeast of Seoul, the official said.
A team of military and intelligence officials was interrogating the man, the official said on the condition of anonymity.
Defections by crossing the Demilitarized Zone to South Korea are rare because both Seoul and Pyongyang carefully patrol their land borders. It was the first defection by land since March last year, when a North Korean soldier defected to the South.
More than 20,000 North Koreans have arrived in South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.