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American crossed into North Korea during tour of DMZ

U.N. officials say an American was likely arrested after crossing the border into North Korea during a tour of the DMZ.
American crossed into North Korea during tour of DMZ
Posted at 5:34 AM, Jul 18, 2023

An American crossed the military demarcation line from South Korea into North Korea during a tour of the Joint Security Area in Panmunjom, United Nations Command reported. 

U.N. Command said the American entered North Korea without authorization and was presumed to have been arrested.

U.N. officials provided no other details of the incident. 

A State Department spokesperson told Scripps News that the department is aware of reports from the Department of Defense that a U.S. service member willfully and without authorization crossed the border. 

The Joint Security Area is the heavily militarized area where North Korea and South Korea troops stand guard. The location has been the site of several high-profile meetings. 

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In 2019, President Donald Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong-un met at the Joint Security Area. Trump briefly crossed the border into North Korea for a photo opportunity with Kim. 

One year prior, Kim met South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Joint Security Area as the two countries discussed a peace process. 

It has also been the site of several high-profile attempted defections. One notable incident came in 2017 when Oh Chong-song became one of the few North Koreans to enter South Korea, but he sustained five gunshot wounds and was treated at a South Korean hospital. 

The U.S. State Department says passports are invalid for entry into North Korea unless specially validated. Special validations are only awarded in special circumstances for journalists, humanitarians and others who have a national interest. 

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to Moon Jae-in as the North Korean president. 

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