SEOUL (Reuters) - A North Korean soldier walked across the heavily armed border between North and South Korea in a bid to defect to the South, an official at the South Korean Defense Ministry said on Monday.

The official did not immediately have further details.

Yonhap news agency said South Korea's military had secured custody of the soldier near the border in the peninsula's central region.

While there are more than a thousand defections from North Korea to South Korea every year, most defectors cross the border into China and it is rare for a North Korean to defect by crossing the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).