The number of North Korean defectors who arrived in South Korea came to 196 last year amid a rise in defections by North Korean diplomats and trade officials, government data showed.
The defections by 32 men and 164 women raised the total number of the North’s defectors in South Korea to 34,078, according to the data from Seoul’s Unification Ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs.
The figure represented a hike from 2021 and 2022, when the number of North Korean defectors entering South Korea fell sharply to 63 and 67, respectively, due to pandemic-related border closures. It marked a dramatic decline from a record high of 2,914 in 2009, according to the Unification Ministry.
Among those who came to the South last year, more than half, or 99 people, were in their 20s and 30s, the ministry said. (Yonhap)