February 22, 2024

Why Do People Keep “Re-Defecting” To North Korea?

With another family reported to have voluntarily "re-defected" to North Korea, questions are now being asked as to what is motivating people to return after investing so much in originally leaving.

The recent “re-defection” of a young family from South to North Korea is raising fresh questions about what motivates people to return to the DPRK after investing so much in originally leaving. Their appearance on North Korean media last week was the second time that Pyongyang has so publicly highlighted the case of re-defectors going back in recent months. Coming after news in July that nearly 100 others have re-defected to North Korea this year alone, many are now asking what may be motivating people to go back.

At a press conference on Thursday, Kim Kwang Hyok talked about his time in South Korea to prove  how defectors from the north can not succeed there, underscoring how North Koreans are “snubbed and disdained (sic) everywhere they went.” At the conference his wife reportedly said that she would like to tell those who were taken to the south “to come to their senses and break with cursed south Korean society and come back to the DPRK without hesitation”.  She also added that going back to North Korea was the “only way of finding dignity and genuine life.”