Nov. 4 (UPI) — A North Korean man who recognized himself as a civilian has defected to the South, marking the primary publicly identified North Korean defection throughout the DMZ for the reason that coronavirus pandemic.

South Korea’s navy mentioned Wednesday the person, whose title isn’t being disclosed, is in his late 20s or early 30s and is “not a soldier,” Yonhap reported.

The North Korean civilian made clear his intention to hunt asylum or resettlement within the South. The investigation is ongoing, the South’s navy says.

South Korea’s joint chiefs of employees mentioned Wednesday the defector was caught on surveillance digicam in an japanese space of Gangwon Province. The person was “safely secured” by authorities at 9:50 a.m., Seoul mentioned.

The navy is coming beneath renewed criticism for not bringing the person in earlier. The defector was in a position to cross over a barbed-wire fence with out sounding the alarm, Newsis reported. The arrest of the defector didn’t happen instantly after, indicating a lapse in surveillance, the report says.

The North Korean man was additionally captured on thermal cameras twice on Monday, at 10:14 a.m. and 10:22 a.m., “loitering” across the navy demarcation line. Authorities say the realm is a “blind spot,” based on Yonhap.

The defection of the North Korean comes greater than a month after a South Korean fisheries ministry officer was shot and burned in North Korean territory. North Korea state media has beforehand mentioned the South is struggling to include the coronavirus, and analysts have mentioned the North was seemingly taking draconian measures in opposition to the South Korean officer.

The North Korean defector who was taken in on Wednesday examined detrimental for the coronavirus, based on experiences.

North Korean defections throughout the DMZ are uncommon however have been rising lately. On July 31 of final 12 months, a North Korean soldier defected through the Imjin River. On Dec. 1, 2018, a North Korean soldier crossed the MDL, and on Nov. 13, 2017, Oh Cheong-song of the North Korean military crossed into the South on the Joint Safety Space beneath a hail of North Korean bullets.