The number of North Korean defectors arriving in South Korea is plummeting because of the North’s stronger surveillance against would-be escapees amid tense inter-Korean ties. Until now, the figure had steadily increased since the mid-1990s.
In the first half of this year though, the ministry said the number of North Koreans who arrived in the South was 42.3 percent of last year’s figure. And the number for the second half is expected to decline further.
The drop is largely due to the North’s stepped-up crackdown on defectors. The Stalinist country set up layered surveillance networks in border areas early this year shortly after its major security agencies issued their first joint statement declaring war on defectors in February.
The North is known to have significantly strengthened its crackdown also after its disastrous currency revaluation in December last year.