Following a prolonged period of declining defector numbers entering South Korea, the second quarter of 2013 saw a return to growth.
According to figures released by the Ministry of Unification in Seoul on the 21st, 717 defectors entered South Korea in the first half of this year, compared with 710 in the same period last year. However, only 320 of the total number entered in the first quarter, marking a 10% decline year on year. This fact highlights the relative intensity of the second quarter increase.
It is suggested that the number entering South Korea in the second quarter could be a reflection of sudden anxiety felt by defectors transiting or residing in third countries.
An official from one group that supports defectors explained to Daily NK, “This is the psychological effect on defectors in third countries of the forced expulsion of defectors by Laos, which had previously been relatively friendly to them.”
Among defectors arriving in the first half of this year, 551, or 77%, were women. Last year’s figure for the same period stood at 73%.