Seoul restricts North Korean defectors, including children, from leaving

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that Seoul detained a group of North Koreans who had crossed maritime borders on a fishing boat earlier in May with the intention of leaving their country.

The agency cited sources saying “South Korea detained a group of North Koreans, including children, who crossed the de facto maritime border between the two Koreas on a fishing boat earlier this month,” noting that they “are subject to questioning by relevant government agencies.” communications, including the National Intelligence Service, at a military base in the Seoul metropolitan area.”

The agency indicated that the North Koreans had expressed their intention to flee to South Korea.

South Korean military authorities located the boat as it approached the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in the West Sea on the night of May 6 and sent troops to intercept it shortly after it crossed the maritime border.

In recent years, the number of North Koreans fleeing south has decreased due to strict border controls imposed by North Korea to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That number, which was around 1,000 in 2019, has fallen to 229 in 2020 and 63 in 2021. Last year there were 67.

Source: Yonhap

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