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2 N.K. defectors named directors at state-run foundation

All Headlines 15:34 November 01, 2016

SEOUL, Nov. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Tuesday named two North Korean defectors as directors at the state-run agency in charge of offering support to North Koreans escaping the repressive regime for the first time, government officials said.

Seoul appointed three directors, including two defectors at the Korea Hana Foundation -- Hyun Sung-il, an adviser to the foundation, and Hyun In-ae, a visiting research fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification -- according to the unification ministry.

It marked the first time that North Korean defectors became directors at the foundation since its establishment in 2010. South Korea's unification minister appoints directors after taking recommendations from the president of the foundation.

The foundation's 10-member directors include eight non-executive directors, including the three newly appointed directors.

The 57-year-old Hyun Sung-il defected to South Korea in 1996 while working as a third secretary at North Korea's embassy in Zambia. He is a descendant of guerrilla fighters who fought against Japanese colonialists in the 1930s and is regarded as coming from a privileged family in the North.

The 59-year-old Hyun escaped to the South in 2004 after teaching philosophy at a medical college in the northeastern port of Chongjin. Both graduated from the North's prestigious Kim Il-sung University.

A ministry official said that their appointments were aimed at expanding the role of North Korean defectors in implementing the government's resettlement policy and improving their capacity building.

South Korea plans to unveil new measures to better help defectors settle in the South in mid-November as the total number of North Korean defectors is set to surpass the 30,000 mark.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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