The United States adopted a human rights law [the North Korean Human Rights Act] in 2004 aimed at facilitating the defection of North Koreans from their Stalinist country. The law opened the way for North Korean escapees to seek asylum in the U.S. But it does not apply to those who have already settled in South Korea.
Confusion has risen after a U.S. court reportedly approved recently asylum for two North Koreans who have acquired South Korean citizenship. The latest case involved a 33-year-old woman who settled in South Korea in 2001. In April, a former North Korean army officer, Seo Jae-seok, who obtained South Korean citizenship in 1998, was granted asylum in the U.S.
The Seoul government has made inquires with the U.S. government about the two cases, according to government sources.