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N. Koreans' defections point to growing insecurity in N.K.: Seoul

All Headlines 15:18 August 26, 2016

SEOUL, Aug. 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Friday said defections by North Korean officials indicate that internal insecurity has increased in the communist country as the reclusive country's leader Kim Jong-un is strengthening his iron-fisted rule.

Seoul's unification ministry said that a series of defections by North Koreans are taking place at a time when Kim is beefing up his reign of terror and tightening crackdowns on people.

"The government thinks that the stream of defections by North Koreans is the result of Kim moving to consolidate his power and growing internal insecurity," Jeong Joon-hee, a ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing. "We're concerned that North Korea could make more provocative acts as it takes steps to prevent further defections."

Thae Yong-ho, a minister at the North Korean Embassy in London, recently defected to South Korea, making him one of the highest North Korean officials to flee to the South.

A North Korean diplomat at Pyongyang's trade representative in Vladivostok, Russia, defected with his family last month to an unidentified country, according to local reports.

Jeong said that he has no information to confirm such reports.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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