March 02, 2024

34 North Korean defectors reach South in first quarter as COVID obstacles remain

New arrivals jump to highest since 2020 but are still fraction of pre-pandemic levels, despite eased controls in China

A total of 34 North Korean defectors reached South Korea in the first quarter of this year, Seoul’s unification ministry announced on Tuesday, the most in a three-month period since 2020 but still far fewer than before the pandemic.

Of the arrivals, 29 were women and five men, according to the ministry. The total marks a threefold increase from 11 in the first quarter of 2022 and more than half the number of defectors who arrived in all of last year.

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