North Korean residents presumed to be family return to South Korea across Yellow Sea NLL on fishing boat
It was reported late on May 18th that South Korean military authorities had secured a North Korean fishing boat that crossed the Northern Limit Line (NLL) into South Korea earlier this month and a resident presumed to be his family. was taken. It was the first time since July 2017 that a North Korean family had escaped from North Korea (returned to Vietnam) using a fishing boat, according to government announcements and other sources.

Military authorities detected a North Korean fishing boat approaching the vicinity of the NLL on the night of May 6th and after continuing to monitor it, they immediately dispatched troops and embarked on inspections and searches as soon as they confirmed that it had crossed the NLL. The fishing boat crossed the NLL and headed for the western waters of Yeonpyeong Island, where a naval patrol boat was dispatched to secure custody.

Fewer than 10 people were reportedly on board, including young children. Therefore, it is highly likely that the defection occurred on a family-by-family basis. The family said that they did not accidentally drift away and that they had the intention of defecting. The military authorities confirmed his intention to defect by the early morning of the 7th and transferred his family to the military unit in the metropolitan area this morning.

It was reported that the military and relevant authorities such as the National Intelligence Service are conducting joint inquiries. The exact size and identity of the deported residents and their specific motives for defecting are unknown.

Considering that the North Korean authorities have thoroughly closed their borders since the COVID-19 outbreak at the end of 2019, the process of defection is presumed to have been quite difficult. In particular, after a North Korean patrol boat intruded on the NLL in the Yellow Sea on the 15th of last month and was forced to withdraw after receiving warning shots from the South Korean military, it was reported that the North Korean military's vigilance around the NLL had become more stringent.

Meanwhile, according to South Korea's Ministry of Unification, the number of North Korean defectors who entered South Korea remained at the 1,000 mark each year until 2019, but 229 in 2020, 63 in 2021, and 63 in 2021. By 2022, the number will drop sharply to 67.
2023/05/25 12:41 KST