N. Korea Fighter Pilot Killed in an Apparent Defection

Plane went down in Chinese corn field
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2010 11:54 AM CDT
N. Korea Fighter Pilot Killed in an Apparent Defection
A file photo of Korean leader Kim Jong Il at a military parade.   (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara, File)

This much seems clear: A North Korean fighter jet crashed into a corn field in China. (See the Wall Street Journal for photos.) Beyond that lies a ton of speculation, but the wires generally agree on this storyline: It was a lone pilot who tried to defect from Kim Jong Il's land of paradise, and he was probably trying to fly over China to Russia (which has no repatriation policy with the North). He was killed in the crash, though there are squishy reports of a second pilot who bailed, notes the BBC.

If true, it's a big embarrassment for the North and a likely sign that the famine is getting even worse. Military defections are unusual because the North feeds its soldiers first, explains the Australian. As the wires sort things out, maybe Kim will take to his new Twitter feed to set everything straight.
(Read more North Korea stories.)

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