A woman who appeared in a press conference at the People’s Palace of Culture in Pyongyang yesterday asserting that she re-defected to the North after being tricked into traveling to South Korea has been confirmed as Park In Sook, who originally defected across the Tumen River in 2006.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Unification, Park Soo Jin told reporters in a briefing today, “Based on the contents of the press conference from North Korea, the person who re-defected is assumed to be Park In Sook, who lived in the Songpa district of Seoul after her arrival in 2006.”
Park claims she defected in March 2006 after being told she could be reunited with her father in the Chinese city of Qingdao. However, she says she was later tricked into traveling to South Korea, arriving alone on June 29th the same year. Then, on May 25th this year she flew back to North Korea via China.
Park, who is at least 65 years old, lived in a rental apartment in Songpa while surviving off government assistance. In the press conference she reportedly said she was 66, but when she entered South Korea she told officials that she was 71, and had been born in 1941.
Explaining her name, a Ministry of Unification official revealed, “When she was born she was Park Jung Sook, but she started using the name Park In Sook when they made her North Korean identification card, and she also used the same name when arriving in South Korea.
This type of incident is very rare; however, another defector by the name of Yoo Tae Joon also returned to North Korea in 2000, having come to South Korea illegally in 1998. However, Yoo then re-entered South Korea in 2001, was punished under the law and now lives in South Korea.
According to the Ministry of Unification, “We cannot reveal the specific number of cases like Park’s, but it is very small number.”