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[Newsmaker] Unification Ministry partially disputes media report on arrival of NK defectors from Thailand

Ministry of Unification Deputy Spokesperson Kim Eun-han said a media report on the “mass” arrival of North Korean defectors from Thailand was partially incorrect.

News 1, a Seoul-based news agency, reported Friday morning that around 20 North Koreans were in government custody after arriving in the country on a Korean Air flight from Thailand on Thursday morning.


In a phone call with The Korea Herald on Friday afternoon, Kim said the number of North Korean defectors that were reported to have entered the country is “incorrect.” Asked if the report was false or exaggerated, he replied, “there are some inaccuracies,” though he refused to give the actual number or elaborate on the inaccuracies.

“This is not a ‘large-scale North Korean defector entry to South Korea,’ as reported in certain outlets,” he said.

In a briefing Friday morning, the Unification Ministry said the defection circumstances cannot be revealed due to diplomatic concerns.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the ministry was unable to confirm any information regarding defection from North Korea for reasons of security and the safety of the defectors.

By Kim Arin (