Five North Koreans defect to South Korea

2017-07-01 21:40
A file photo of a North Korean soldier looking at a South Korean soldier standing guard at a border post between the two countries. (Lee Jin-man, AP)

A file photo of a North Korean soldier looking at a South Korean soldier standing guard at a border post between the two countries. (Lee Jin-man, AP)

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Seoul - Five North Koreans in a small boat crossed the sea border into South Korean waters on Saturday, a Coast Guard official said, in an apparent bid to defect to the South.

The five people, four men and a woman, have expressed their wish to live in the South as defectors, the Yonhap news agency reported.

"Coast guards guided the boat to safety at (the eastern port of) Mukho," said a South Korean coast guard official.

Government authorities were questioning the five North Koreans, he added.

The incident came after a North Korean fishing boat with eight people on board developed an engine trouble and drifted into South Korean waters off the country's eastern coast late last month.

Swam across

Days later, South Korea repatriated all the eight, as they had requested.

Early last month, two people out of four crew on another North Korean fishing boat which drifted to the South refused to return home. They were allowed resettle in the South.

There has also been a spate of overland border crossings in June.

Two North Korean soldiers walked across the heavily fortified border and a civilian swam across a river to defect to the South.

Over the decades since the peninsula was divided, dozens of North Korean soldiers have fled to the South through the Demilitarised Zone, which extends for two kilometres either side of the actual border.

Read more on:    south korea  |  north korea

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