N.Korean Defections Dwindle 20%

Irene Park, July 13, 2017, 9:28 a.m.

The number of North Koreans defecting to the South has fallen by over 20 percent in the first half of this year even as more and more members of the elite flee the repressive state.

The Unification Ministry here said that despite some recent high-profile defections, fewer than 600 North Koreans crossed over between January and June, down from some 750 in the same period last year.

The number of defections has steadily declined since Kim Jong-un came to power in 2011 and a crackdown intensified. However, the proportion of women has been increasing, accounting for 85 percent this year.

The steady increase is partially because women are relatively free to go to China and there are many cases where they are trafficked and try to defect.

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