South Korean Choe In-guk defects to North Korea

Choe In-guk North Korea — North Korean media has reported the arrival in Pyongyang of Choe In-guk, the son of a former South Korean foreign minister. This is a particularly rare event. A South Korean, Choe In-guk defected to North Korea, according to the official North Korean media. This decision is similar to that of his parents who had changed sides in the 1980s.

It is estimated that more than 30,000 North Koreans have fled poverty and repression to join South Korea since the end of the war (1950-1953). But defections in the opposite direction are extremely rare. Choe In-guk, son of former South Korean Foreign Minister Choe Dok-shin, who died in 1989, three years after joining South Korea with his wife, landed in Pyongyang on Saturday, according to the official North Korean Uriminzokkiri website.

In a video shot at the airport on Sunday, 72-year-old Choe In-guk said he arrived in the North Korean capital to “live there.” “I can not find the words to express my gratitude to the Republic that welcomes me with open arms,” ​​he says. He adds that he decided to live in North Korea to “meet the desires” of his parents.

The South Korean Unification Ministry said it did not know anything about this defection before the article was published, pointing out that it does not follow the actions of individuals, “because it respects freedom of movement”. A small number of South Koreans in a difficult economic situation have gone north in the past. Some were sent south by Pyongyang, who felt they were not desirable for propaganda purposes.

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Last year, two South Koreans were repatriated, said the ministry, without further details. Pyongyang, subject to heavy UN sanctions because of its nuclear and ballistic programs, calls North Korean defectors to the south “human detritus”.

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Emy Torres

Emy holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan and currently freelances part-time for The Talking Democrat.