Fewest ever North Korean defectors reached South in 2021: Data

Only 63 North Korean defectors entered South Korea throughout all of 2021, Seoul’s unification ministry announced on Thursday, the fewest ever recorded in a calendar year and a dramatic decline from over 1,000 defectors annually prior to the pandemic.

A ministry official explained that the precipitous decrease in the number of North Koreans defecting to South Korea is likely the result of the DPRK’s extreme COVID-19 border controls, as well as travel restrictions in so-called transit countries.

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