23:20 GMT +317 October 2019
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    A sales assistant watches TV sets broadcasting a news report on Thae Yong Ho, North Korea's deputy ambassador in London, who has defected with his family to South Korea, in Seoul, South Korea, August 18, 2016

    Seoul Believes N Korea May Carry Out Provocation After Defection of Diplomat

    © REUTERS / Kim Hong-Ji
    Asia & Pacific
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    South Korean government urges all citizens to be on guard for possible provocations after a high-ranking North Korean diplomat defected to the South, according to local media.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Pyongyang may carry out provocations after a high-ranking North Korean diplomat defected to the South, media reported on Sunday.

    Earlier this week, Seoul announced that Thae Yong Ho, a London-based North Korean diplomat, and his family defected to the South.

    "There is a considerable chance that the North confronted with difficulties may implement some sort of provocation to help rally its people and consolidate the regime's hold on power… The defection of Thae Yong-ho, the No. 2 man at the North Korean Embassy in London may be causing tremors in the North as well as hurting the country's image abroad," South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported citing an unnamed official at Seoul's unification ministry.

    The source added that such provocations may be aimed at diverting attention from the North's other problems as it is dealing with sanctions imposed by the United Nations.

    "The government urges all citizens to be on guard for possible provocations and to cooperate with the government if the need arises," the official said.

    On Saturday, North Korea state media said that Thae Yong Ho committed a series of crimes and decided to avoid retribution by fleeing to Seoul.


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    Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), provocations, South Korea
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