Seoul: Number of North Koreans Fleeing to South Grows by 22% in 2016

© AFP 2022 / SAUL LOEB A North Korean flag behind the barbed wire of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZS) in the Joint Security Area near Panmunjom on the border between North and South Korea
A North Korean flag behind the barbed wire of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZS) in the Joint Security Area near Panmunjom on the border between North and South Korea - Sputnik International
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There are 22 percent more North Korean defectors who left the country and arrived in South Korea in the first half of 2016 than a year ago, government data indicated on Thursday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The number of North Korean citizens that went across the border to South Korea totaled 749 in the period between January and June, compared to 614 similar cases last year, Unification Ministry data revealed, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.

A North Korean flag behind the barbed wire of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZS) in the Joint Security Area near Panmunjom on the border between North and South Korea - Sputnik International
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As of late June, the total number of North Korean defectors hit 29,543. The number is predicted to possibly pass 30,000 people in 2016.

The pace of the growth of the number of defectors in North Korea is said to have slowed down since 2011 amid boosted border controls.

In 2015, the number stood at 1,276, which was a decrease from almost 1,400 in the previous year.

Some North Koreans are known to be fleeing to China first before attempting to reach South Korea.

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