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Male North Korean refugee arrives in US in Feb: data

A North Korean male in his 50s or older arrived in the United States as a refugee this week, US government data showed Friday.

He is the second North Korean refugee to resettle in the US this year. In January, a male aged 14-20 was placed in Richmond, Virginia, according to data from the State Department's bureau of population, refugees and migration.

The new arrival was reported Thursday as a male aged 51-64. He now lives in Chicago, Illinois.


No North Korean refugees were admitted last year.

The first North Korean refugees arrived in 2006, with their number peaking at 38 in 2008. From 2009 to 2016, the number of arrivals ranged between 14 and 23.

In 2017, the figure dropped sharply to one, before increasing slightly to six in 2018.

North Koreans who flee the communist regime reportedly face greater difficulty crossing the border with China due to tightened security.

Only 1,047 North Korean defectors arrived in South Korea last year, the lowest number in 18 years, according to Seoul's unification ministry.

By contrast, their number peaked at 2,914 in 2009. (Yonhap)