A South Korean man has defected to North Korea to permanently live there and work for its unification with the South, Pyongyang’s state media reported.
Choe In-guk is the son of two high level diplomats who also defected to the communist North in 1984 after a political dispute with then-South Korean President Park Chung-hee.
The state-run North Korean Uriminzokkiri website reported that Choe would work at the guidance of the country’s Chairman Kim Jong Un.
The website published images and footage showing Choe in a beret reading a statement upon his arrival at Pyongyang’s international airport.
Choe said he is over 70 years old and that he made the decision to fulfill his parents’ “dying wishes” for him to “follow” North Korea and work for the unification of both countries, a written statement published on the website said.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry said Choe was in North Korea without special permission from the Seoul government. A ministry spokesman told reporters Monday that authorities were trying to find out details about Choe’s travel to the North.
The ministry also said that Choe had been allowed to make 12 authorized trips to North Korea since 2001 to visit his parents’ cemetery and attend a death anniversary for his mother.
South Koreans defection to North Korea is very rare and the North is known to have repatriated them in the past.
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