World’s most isolated country is becoming so uncomfortable to live in even soldiers are caving in under the pressure.

On Monday, a soldier who defected to South Korea was shot and wounded.

Barely 24 hours later, another soldier followed suit but not before he was shot at least half a dozen times before he could cross to the free-South.

The US-led United Nations Command (UNC), which monitors the Panmunjom border truce village where the defection occurred, said the soldier had driven close to the heavily-guarded, military demarcation line separating the two Koreas.

"He then exited the vehicle and continued fleeing south across the line as he was fired upon by other soldiers from North Korea," the UNC said in a statement.

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An official with the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said the North's border guards fired at least 40 rounds.

A doctor treating the soldier - who was helicoptered to a hospital for emergency surgery - said he had been shot half-a-dozen times and sustained a serious stomach injury.

"He has at least six gunshot wounds on his body and the penetrating wound in the abdomen is the most serious", the doctor, Lee Cook-Jong, told reporters.

It is very rare for the North's troops to defect at the truce village, a major tourist attraction bisected by the demarcation line and the only part of the frontier where forces from the two sides come face-to-face.

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