September 26, 2023

Only 67 North Korean defectors reach South in 2022, second fewest ever

Reality on ground inside DPRK more opaque than ever as COVID border measures pose barriers to escape, expert says

Just a few dozen North Korean defectors reached South Korea in 2022, the unification ministry announced Tuesday, as severe COVID-19 movement restrictions in the DPRK and China continued to make it difficult for people to escape.

The 67 defectors that arrived in the ROK last year marks the second-lowest total on record and is only slightly higher than the 63 defectors that made it to South Korea in 2021, the ministry said in a statement to reporters.