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Number of N.K. defectors falls 12.7 pct on-year in Jan.-Aug. period

2017/09/17 13:59

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SEOUL, Sept. 17 (Yonhap) --The number of North Koreans who escaped to South Korea between January to August this year declined more than 10 percent from a year ago, government data showed Sunday.

The decrease is attributable to North Korea's tightened surveillance over its people and reinforced security by Pyongyang and Beijing along their borders, according to the Ministry of Unification's report to Rep. Park Byeong-seug of the ruling Democratic Party.

A total of 780 North Koreans defected to South Korea in the January-August period, a 12.7-percent decline on-year. Of them, workers and farmers accounted for 56.9 percent, up 16.1 percentage points on-year, while 3.5 percent were soldiers and government agents.

"Still most of people escape due to poverty, but we have to pay attention that in recent days those who have stable life in North Korea even escape, while some even defect for their children's education," Park said.

In this file photo taken on Aug. 9, 2017, South Korean citizens hold signs condemning the Chinese government's policy on North Korean defectors at the Chinese Embassy in Seoul. (Yonhap) In this file photo taken on Aug. 9, 2017, South Korean citizens hold signs condemning the Chinese government's policy on North Korean defectors at the Chinese Embassy in Seoul. (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr

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