01:04 GMT02 December 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - A sharp year-on-year fall in the number of North Korean defectors arriving in South Korea has been registered in the third quarter of 2020, the South Korean Ministry of Unification said on Wednesday, according to domestic media reports.

    The Yonhap news agency cited the ministry, which stated that 48 North Korean defectors arrived in South Korea in the third quarter of the year, a substantial drop from the 226 North Koreans who defected in the same period last year.

    Despite the year-on-year fall in the number of defectors, Q3 2020's figures show a significant quarter-on-quarter increase as just 12 defectors were registered in the second quarter of the year, according to ministry data cited by the agency.

    The tighter border controls and self-isolation measures enforced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are believed to be the cause of the reduction in defector numbers.

    A joint liaison office in the border town of Kaesong was blown up by North Korea this past June after Pyongyang expressed its disapproval of Seoul's inability to prevent North Korean defectors from flying balloons containing leaflets critical of Kim Jong-un's leadership across the border.




    Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), defectors, South Korea, two Koreas
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