Officials said the man who crossed the border into North Korea last week was a defector and he is struggling with his new life in South Korea.
that person cross According to official and media reports, the heavily guarded border between South Korea and North Korea last week was a North Korean defector struggling in his new life.
Tuesday’s news sparked a new debate in South Korea about how to treat these defectors and raised questions about whether they received sufficient support after a dangerous journey. Poverty, strictly controlled north To the rich and democratic South.
A South Korean military official told Reuters that the returning defector was a man in his 30s who had just entered the country more than a year ago.
The official said that he lived a poor life while working as a cleaner in Seoul, the capital of South Korea.
“I would say that he is classified as a lower class, barely making a living,” the official said, but declined to elaborate on the grounds of privacy.
The NK news website also quoted a South Korean official as saying that the man “living a difficult life” in his new home.
The official dismissed concerns that the former defector might be a spy, saying that the man did not have a job that allowed him to access sensitive information.
The South Korean military, which has been criticized for violating the border, has launched an investigation into how the North Korean man avoided guards when he was caught by surveillance cameras hours before crossing the border.
North Korean officials have not yet commented on the incident, and the official media has not reported on it.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that the police in Nowon County, northern Seoul, which provided security and other care for the man, expressed concern in June that he might return to North Korea.
But it stated that it did not take any action due to lack of concrete evidence.
The police declined to comment.
The official in charge of cross-border affairs at the Seoul Unification Ministry said on Tuesday that the returnees received government support in terms of personal safety, housing, medical care and employment.
According to Yonhap News Agency, the man barely interacted with his neighbors, and someone saw him throw away his belongings the day before crossing the border.
Yonhap News Agency quoted a neighbor as saying: “He was bringing the mattress and bedding to the garbage dump that morning. It’s weird because they are all too new.” “I thought about asking him to give it to us, but in the end there was none. Do this because we have never greeted each other.”
As of September, about 33,800 North Koreans had resettled in South Korea. They dared to venture long distances—usually via China—in search of a new life while fleeing poverty and oppression in the country.
According to the Ministry of Unification, since 2012, only 30 defectors have been confirmed to have returned to the north.
But defectors and activists say there may be more unknown cases among those trying to adapt to life in the South.
According to ministerial data submitted to North Korean defector Ji Chenghao, about 56% of North Korean defectors are classified as low-income earners. Nearly 25% of people belong to the lowest level of national basic living allowance, which is 6 times of the total population.
In a survey released last month by the North Korean Human Rights and Social Research Database Center of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in Seoul, about 18% of the 407 defectors surveyed stated that they would return to North Korea, and most of them said Nostalgia.
“There are a series of complex factors, including the desire for families to stay in the north, and the emotional and financial difficulties that arise during resettlement,” said an official from the Ministry of Unification, and promised to review policies and improve support for defectors.