Saturday, November 23, 2019 01:10:41 AM
The son of high-profile South Korean defectors is reported to have moved to North Korea, in a rare case of someone seeking to settle in the dictatorship.
Choe In-guk is the son of a South Korean ex-foreign minister who defected to the North with his wife in 1986.
According to North Korean state media he will live in the North and work on reunification issues.
Defections this way are very rare. It is more common for people from the North to try to escape to the South.
The two countries are technically still at war and South Koreans need permission to visit the North.
South Korea's Unification Ministry confirmed that Mr Choe did not request such permission for his trip.
"It's not yet clear how exactly his defection came about," Oliver Hotham of specialist news site NK News, based in Seoul, told the BBC. "But it would be fairly simple for a South Korean to get to the North if they had the regime's blessing by travelling through China."
However if Mr Choe has violated South Korean law by not seeking permission from his government, he could potentially be arrested if he ever returned to the South, experts say. Mr Choe is a 73-year-old South Korean citizen, but little is known about his personal life or political views. He has a wife and daughter in the South.
His parents, however, were the most high-profile South Koreans to defect to the North since the end of the Korean War.
Mr Choe's arrival in Pyongyang was reported by the North's state media, which showed him being warmly received by North Korean officials.
He is cited on the North Korean propaganda website Uriminzokkiri as saying: "To live in and follow a country for which I feel thankful is a path to protect the will left by my parents.
"So I've decided to permanently live in North Korea, albeit belatedly."
South Korean media outlets report that Mr Choe did not have an easy life in the South and had to fight the stigma of being the "son of traitor".
He reportedly changed jobs several times and lived on money his mother sent from North Korea before she died in 2016.
Mr Choe frequently travelled to the North in recent years and attended his mother's funeral there.
His father Choe Tok-sin served as foreign minister of South Korea during the 1960s.
In the 1970s he emigrated to the US where he became a stern critic of the South Korea government under military leader Park Chung-hee.
A decade later, in 1986, he made headlines by defecting to the North along with his wife, Ryu Mi-yong. They left their five adult children behind in the South.
Both became part of the political elite in their new home country. Choe Tok-sin died in 1989 and Ryu Mi-yong assumed his role as leader of a religious sect. She also took on other positions.
The family has longstanding ties to the North Korean leadership. Choe In-guk's paternal grandfather is known to have been a mentor to Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea, during the fight against Japanese rule.
How common are defections?
Defectors on the Korean peninsula are usually citizens of the North who try to escape from the closed-off dictatorship to the democratic and wealthier South. Such defections are very dangerous.
Seoul says more than 30,000 North Koreans have illegally crossed the border since the end of the Korean War in 1953.
According to South Korean statistics the numbers have dropped somewhat in recent years. There were 1,127 defections in 2017 compared to 2,706 in 2011.
In some cases soldiers have crossed the border on foot, often under a hail of bullets.
Most flee via China, which has the longest border with North Korea. It is easier to flee over this border than the heavily-protected Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas.
China regards defectors as illegal migrants rather than refugees and often forcibly repatriates them.
Defections from the South to the North are very rare and often involve so-called "double defectors" - people who first fled North Korea for the South but eventually return to the North.
They were more common before the devastating famine believed to have killed hundreds of thousands of people in North Korea in the mid-1990s.
THE Anti-Corruption Commission on Thursday said that they are facing serious crisis of people's trust in them. The scale of failure overweighed their successes in the 15 years of establishment. The Commission's realisation comes in its 15th anniversary, when corruption index shows downtrend in all sectors and the media investigated ...
Agency :Fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar and left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav have been named in India's squad for the limited-overs series against West Indies at home.They will be joined by regular skipper Virat Kohli, who was rested for the Twenty20 International leg of the Bangladesh series, and fast bowler Mohammed Shami, ...
Reuters, Bangkok :Pope Francis warned on Friday that technology and globalisation were homogenising young people around the world to the point where their uniqueness and cultural individuality were becoming endangered species.The 82-year-old pope made his appeal for young people to hold on to the cultures handed down by their ancestors ...
Ishaa Saha who is currently basking on the glory three back to back successes with Guptodhoner Sondhane, Dugershgorer Guptodhon and Sweater has managed to carve a special niche for herself with hard work and tenacity. We asked the young talented actor what she has learned as an actor so far ...
GETTING assurance from government that the demands regarding the Road Transport Act would be looked into, the transport leaders and workers have called off their nationwide strike that began on Wednesday. Earlier, they went on a strike demanding 9-points including amendment to the newly introduced law. The Home Minister himself ...
AP, Bangkok :Pope Francis called Thursday for women and children to be protected from exploitation, abuse and enslavement as he began a busy two days of meetings in Thailand, where human trafficking and forced prostitution help fuel the sexual tourism industry.Francis pleaded for action against one of the region's greatest ...
After the success of Barot House, Manjari Faddnis makes her presence felt in a United Nations backed project, Megha’s Divorce helmed by award winning director Nila Madhab Panda. Megha’s Divorce is a short film which part of an anthology of shorts curated from world over. In India, the film will ...
Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Popular Lux superstar and actress Shanarei Devi Shanu has been passing busy times with writing stories, novels and poems foe last few years. This year’s book fair, Shanu-written first children book titled Shanarei O Tar Jadur Leitreng. For writing this book she recently got Meena Award. According ...
THE truck owners and workers have gone for work abstention protesting the enforcement of the Road Transport Act-2018 resulting in immense sufferings to people and businessmen across the country. The transport workers in nine more districts joined the work stoppage yesterday that began in 10 districts on Monday, defying the ...
Bangladesh's spin bowling consultant Daniel Vettori conceded that early sunset in Kolkata could pose a massive challenge for his team's batsmen during the "twilight" hours of the upcoming historic Day-Night Test against India starting on Friday.While a handful of first team players from India have played pink-ball game in domestic ...
The Independent :Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory remain illegal despite the US saying it no longer considers them inconsistent with international law, the United Nations human rights office has said.The Trump administration abandoned its four-decade policy on Monday by saying it was "reversing the Obama administration's approach towards Israeli ...
Agencies, New York :As scientists scramble to determine whether there is life on Mars, a researcher from Ohio University in US believes that there is evidence of insect-like creatures on the red planet.Courtesy photographs from various Mars rovers, Professor Emeritus William Romoser's research found numerous examples of insect-like forms, structured ...