December 05, 2023

Of spies and defectors in north east Asia

Long, severe detention process for would-be defectors raises questions

By Markus Bell and Sarah Chee 

In every way, Yu Woo-seong was a model defector. In his early 30s, he was smart, friendly, ambitious and well-liked. Although trained as a doctor in North Korea, upon arrival in the South he eschewed the competitive South Korean medical school system and instead pursued a bachelor’s degree in business and Chinese at a prominent Seoul university.