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Young male N. Korean refugee arrives in U.S. in Jan.: data

All News 08:29 February 05, 2020

By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean male likely in his teens arrived in the United States as a refugee last month, U.S. government data showed Tuesday.

He is the only North Korean refugee tallied for this year by the State Department's bureau of population, refugees and migration.

He is aged 14-20, lives in Richmond, Virginia, and likely arrived in the country on Jan. 23, according to data available with the bureau's Refugee Processing Center.

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 2009-2016, the number of arrivals ranged between 14 and 23.

In 2017, the figure dropped sharply to one, before increasingly 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.

This AFP file photo shows the U.S. Department of State in Washington. (Yonhap)


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