The number of North Korean defectors coming to South Korea reached 34 in the first quarter, government data showed.
After escaping the North, five men and 29 women reached the South in the January-March period, bringing the total number of the North’s defectors to 33,916, according to the data from Seoul’s Unification Ministry.
The data compared with 11 people in the first quarter of last year and 25 tallied in the fourth quarter.
The number of North Korean defectors coming to the South has sharply dwindled in recent years due largely to Pyongyang’s tight border controls over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of such escapees stayed below 100 for the second straight year in 2022, slightly up from 63 in the previous year. (Yonhap)