02:35 GMT +318 November 2018
Listen Live
    A South Korean soldier stands as a North Korean flag flutters in the wind atop a 160-meter (533-foot) tower in the village of Gijungdong near the north side of the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014

    South Korea Mulls Boosting Support to North Korea Defectors – Ministry

    © AP Photo / Lee Jin-man
    Asia & Pacific
    Get short URL
    0 0 0

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - South Korea’s Unification Ministry said it planned to push back the deadline for North Korean defectors to claim housing and other types of benefits to three years. The cabinet approved the law change on Tuesday, the Yonhap news agency said. It still needs to be endorsed by the parliament.

    North Korean defectors are currently required to tell authorities within a year after their arrival if they want to settle down in the country in order to receive full support.

    Some 30,000 defectors from North Korea are living in the South. The outlet said 206 people have been unable to claim full benefits as of September after missing the one-year deadline.

    The number of defectors has been steadily declining since 2012, soon after Kim came to power following his father's death, the Yonhap news agency reported last month.

    According to the spokesman for the ruling South Korean Democratic Party who has cited data of the country's Unification Ministry, while over 2,700 North Korean citizens have fled the country in 2011, just over 1,500 people reached South Korea from the north in 2012. In 2017, the number stood at 1,127, and only 703 people have defected from North Korea in 2018 as of August.

    READ MORE: North Korean Soldier Defects by Walking Across Fortified DMZ

    The Yonhap news agency suggested that North Koreans might be discouraged from defecting from their country because of stricter border control on the North Korean-Chinese border and rising costs of hiring brokers.

    Many North Koreans have been reportedly using China as a transit point on their way to South Korea.

    Related:

    Japan, North Korea Held Secret Talks in Mongolia in Early October - Reports
    Time to Think About Easing North Korea Sanctions - Russian Envoy to UN
    North Korea Seeking to Expand Ties With Russia - Foreign Minister
    South Korea’s Moon Believes North Korea Changing Under ‘Humble’ Kim – Report
    Seoul Can Lift Sanctions Imposed on North Korea After 2010 Warship Sinking
    Tags:
    benefits, settlement, extension, deadline, support, defectors, South Korea, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK)
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik