Archive for the ‘Emigration’ Category

DPRK defection numbers, 2014-Q1

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

According to Yonhap:

A total of 360 North Koreans fled their home and arrived in South Korea in the first quarter of this year, registering a slight increase from a year earlier, the unification ministry said Tuesday.

According to the data compiled by the ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, 153 North Koreans settled in the South in January, 111 in February and 96 in March.

The figure for the quarter was slightly higher than the 319 entrants for the same period in 2013 and the 352 people in 2012, the data showed.

“The 2014 tally was slightly higher than that of the previous two years, but it remains to be seen until the end of this year if it indicates any significant changes,” a ministry official said.

Last year, a total of 1,516 North Koreans settled in the South, up slightly from 2012 when 1,502 people crossed the border, according to ministry data. South Korea is now home to 26,124 North Koreans.

Here is additional data provided by the Choson Ilbo:

From 2006 until 2012, the annual figure stood between 2,500 and 3,000, but it fell to an annual average of about 1,500 when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un took power.

A ministry official said that the number has dropped because the regime has cracked down on defections. “It has tightened border security and is bringing defectors back to the country,” the official added.

Last year, defectors on average earned W1.41 million (US$1=W1,024) in South Korea, just 64 percent of the country’s average pay of W2.18 million. Unemployment among defectors stood at 9.7 percent, more than three times the average of 2.7 percent.

The Daily NK also reports the numbers.

Read the full stories here:
360 N. Korean defectors arrive in South in Q1
Yonhap
2014-4-8

Fewer N.Korean Defectors Reaching South
Choson Ilbo
2014-5-8

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Lankov on the cost of emigrating

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

1,516 North Koreans who arrived in South Korea in 2013–approximately the 2012 number. In 2011, 2,706 defected. Why the drop off? Lankov writes in NK News:

From 2010-11, the number of military patrols on the hitherto poorly protected border with China increased dramatically. Military personnel are also frequently rotated to ensure that soldiers do not develop overly cozy relations with the locals, and severe punishments for graft have been introduced.

Additionally, in 2010 Chinese authorities – obviously prompted by the North Koreans – began to build a tall wire fence along the border with North Korea. This fence is not a formidable obstacle, nonetheless it still makes the act of crossing the border more risky. The construction of the fence was completed in 2012, so nowadays the border between two states appears much better protected than ever.

The “defection market” reacted to the new situation in the most certain way. In the past one could cross the border for free or, at worst, would pay the border guards a small bribe of $30-50 (smugglers had to pay a bit more). Now the price increased to the hitherto unthinkable $3,000-5,000 – and one still has to pay an additional $3,000 to a professional guide who will ensure safe transit to a South Korean embassy in Mongolia or Southeast Asia. The steep rise indicates how much more dangerous the defection has become under the new conditions. It also means that that even under the best possible circumstances one needs some $8,000-9,000 to arrange even a simple defection.

In the original article, Lankov also discusses other tactics used to reduce the number of defections.

Read the full story here:
North-South migration, part 4: After 2011, the stream dries out again?
NK News
Andrei Lankov
2014-2-19

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DPRK defectors arriving in the ROK: 2013

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

According to Yonhap:

The annual number of North Korean defectors seeking refuge in South Korea, which had been dropping since 2009, took an upturn in the first half of this year, government data showed Sunday.

A total of 717 defectors came to live in South Korea in the first half, slightly up from 710 a year ago, according to a tally by the Ministry of Unification.

North Korea defectors arriving in the South had increased annually to reach 2,929 in 2009, after topping 1,000 for the first time in 2001. But the sum has since dropped drastically with last year’s figure half the level of 2011′s 2,706.

But it was not until the second quarter of this year that the number took an upturn, according to the ministry.

“The number of defectors entering South Korea typically declines during winter season and rises again when weather gets warmer,” a ministry official said.

Here is additional coverage in the Daily NK:

According to figures released by the Ministry of Unification in Seoul on the 21st, 717 defectors entered South Korea in the first half of this year, compared with 710 in the same period last year. However, only 320 of the total number entered in the first quarter, marking a 10% decline year on year. This fact highlights the relative intensity of the second quarter increase.

Among defectors arriving in the first half of this year, 551, or 77%, were women. Last year’s figure for the same period stood at 73%.

Approximately 159 former North Koreans are in the USA.

Read the full story here:
N. Korean defectors in S. Korea on the rise
Yonhap
2013-7-21

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159 former North Koreans living in USA

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

According to Yonhap (via Global Post):

The number of North Korean escapees who are living in the United States is tallied at 159, a U.S. radio station reported Saturday.

The U.S. began accepting North Korean refugees after adopting the North Korean Human Rights Act in 2004. Their number rose from nine in the 2006 fiscal year to 37 in 2008 and 22 last year, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) said in a report, monitored in Seoul.

The report, written with data provided by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration at the U.S. State Department, said that from last October to the end of 2012, 13 North Koreans had obtained refugee status and were allowed into the country.

It did not give information on the number for this year.

The report said that the number of North Korean escapees allowed into the U.S. is very small, compared with more than 1.42 million other Asians who have been accepted by Washington.

One reason for the small number of North Korean refugees in the U.S. is because relatively few of them have sought asylum in the U.S., it said, adding that a long waiting time also turns them away to South Korea and other countries.

Read the full story here:
N. Korean refugees in U.S. total 159: report
Yonhap (via Global Post)
2013-7-13

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Kim Cheol Woong performance in Virginia

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Apologies to readers outside the DC area, but I am posting a “local” event. I hope to see you there.

North Korean pianist, Kim Cheol Woong, who now lives in Seoul, will be performing at an event in Burke, VA. You can learn more about Mr. Kim in this New York Times article.

Here is the marketing flyer with the date, time, and location:

MaJoong-Poster-EN

Here is the flyer in Korean (한국)

Here is a, invitation letter (PDF) from NKUS, North Korean Refugees in the USA (Homepage, Facebook).

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A review of the last five years of people-to-people exchanges and inter-Korean economic cooperation under the Lee Myung-bak government

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2013-1-23

The Ministry of Unification’s recent monthly report on ‘Trends on Inter-Korean Exchanges” included an examination of the last five years of the Lee Myung-bak administration’s (January 2008 to November 2012) people-to-people exchanges and economic cooperation between North and South Korea.

Over the past five years, total inter-Korean trade reached 8.94 billion USD, a growth of 58 percent against the previous Roh Moo-hyun administration’s 5.62 billion USD. This increase can be attributed to the steady growth of the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC). The KIC recorded a total trade volume of 6.695 billion USD under the incumbent administration, which is nearly a seven-fold increase compared to the previous Roh administration’s record of 957 million USD. Considering its importance, the KIC was exempt from South Korea’s May 24 (2010) sanctions imposed against the North.

During the Lee government, 108 companies were authorized for inter-Korean cooperation projects (including the Kaesong Industrial Complex). This represents a drastic drop from the previous government’s 370 companies. Under Lee, the number of cultural exchanges and related businesses that were approved were a mere 5, compared to the former administration’s record of 121.

Combined government and private sector assistance to North Korea totaled 256.3 billion KRW, only one fifth of what was recorded during the Roh administration (i.e., 1.27 trillion KRW). While the current government had more private sector support, the previous government showed more government support.

Over the 5 years of the Lee Myung-bak administration, 664,000 people traveled across the North-South border, which is significantly higher than the number (i.e., 390,002 people) recorded during the Roh administration. However, the majority were government officials, mainly those involved with the KIC.

The number of North Korean defectors that entered South Korea during the Lee administration’s term in office was 724 people, a significant drop from the 4,571 people during the 5-year term of the previous administration. Last year, no defectors entered South Korea — the first “zero-entry” in 14 years (that is, since 1998.

In terms of cross-border vehicle traffic, vehicles traveled across the border 840,009 times, an increase from the previous administration’s 490,000 visits. However, the quantity of goods transported dropped 40 percent from the previous, at 1.39 million tons.

In particular, after the ROKS Cheonan incident on March 2010, people-to-people exchanges and economic cooperation were completely halted due to the May 24 (2010) measures. The amount of goods transported was also largely reduced.

As far as cross-border rail is concerned, the Gyeongui Line (connecting South Korea to the KIC) and the Donghae Line (connecting the South to Mount Kumgang) were actively utilized during the Roh administration; but under the incumbent administration, only the Gyeongui Line was utilized.

During the Roh administration, the air traffic recorded 589 trips (42,495 people), but during the Lee government reached only 77 (3,812 people).

The number of separated families members reunited during the last five years was 1,774 (888 people in 2009 and 886 people in 2010). This is only a tenth of the 14,600 family members reunited during the former Roh Moo-hyun government.

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DPRK imports CCTV cameras

Monday, January 14th, 2013

According to the Choson Ilbo:

North Korea is tightening surveillance of the population using tens of thousands of Chinese-made surveillance cameras. According to Chinese customs data, the North imported a total of 16,420 CCTV cameras worth about US$1.66 million from China from January to November last year.

In 2009, the first year China published statistics on bilateral trade, the North imported a whopping 40,465 surveillance cameras from China. In 2010 the figure was 22,987 and in 2011 22,118. Altogether the North has imported over 100,000 cameras worth about $10 million.

Meanwhile, crude oil and oil products were the major products the North imported from China between January and November last year with a total value US$526 million. Next came naphtha products ($101.7 million), cargo trucks ($92.2 million), and flour ($58.8 million).

Read the full story here:
Chinese Cameras Help N.Korean Regime’s Surveillance
Choson Ilbo
2013-1-14

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Number of DPRK defectors drops in 2012

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

According to the BBC:

There has been a significant decrease in the number of refugees from North Korea to South Korea in 2012 compared with 2011, data from South Korea shows.

Just over [1,508] North Koreans arrived in the South in 2012 compared to more than 2,700 the previous year, according to the South’s Unification Ministry.

Activists say that the North, under Kim Jong-un, is taking stronger measures to prevent people from trying to leave.

The figure for 2012 is the first time that numbers have fallen below 2,000 since 2006, says Yonhap news agency.

There are about 24,613 North Koreans who have arrived in South Korea since 1998, according to the Unification Ministry.

Additional Information

Andrei Lankov offers additional numbers and context here.

RFA reports that border guard rotations have been increased.

Read the full story here:
Drop in North Korean refugees to South Korea
BBC
2013-1-2

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DPRK arrivals in the ROK down in 2012

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

According to the Daily NK:

The number of North Koreans entering South Korea has dropped to its lowest level in many years, with the 2012 total unlikely even to reach 50% of the 2011 figure.

A government official met with reporters today to explain the background to the sharp drop, declaring, “Surveillance of defectors has been stepped up a lot, and the authorities have really cracked down on the major routes used as defection paths across the river to China.”

“That’s not all; overall monitoring and control of defectors in North Korea has been strengthened, and the same is true in China, notably in the three northeastern provinces,” he added.

Just 1,202 defectors have entered South Korea this year to date,, the official revealed. As such, the Ministry of Unification estimates that the total for 2012 will be just 1,400, only half of last year’s 2,706. It will certainly be the first time since 2006 that the number of defectors has not reached 2,000.

Previous posts on this topic can be found here 2012, 2011.

Read the full story here:
2012 Defector Numbers Just 50% of 2011
Daily NK
Jeong Jae Sung
2012-11-14

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DPRK emigration stats

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

According to the Korea Times (Yonhap):

A total of 295 North Koreans are staying in South Korea’s overseas diplomatic missions worldwide on their way here, government data showed Thursday.

According to the report that Seoul’s foreign ministry submitted to the National Assembly for regular audit, Seoul’s overseas missions are currently protecting 295 North Koreans, who are waiting to be admitted into the South. In general, such defectors stay one to two months in Seoul’s overseas missions, the ministry said.

More than 2,000 North Koreans have settled in the South over the past five years, with 2,081 coming here in 2008, 2,401 in 2010 and 2,706 last year, according to the data. As of July this year, 915 North Koreans had arrived here, it showed.

Previous stories on this topic here. 2011 emigration stories here. 2012 emigration stories here.

Read the full story here:
Some 300 NK defectors stay in S. Korea’s overseas missions: data
Yonhap (Korea Tiems)
2012-10-4

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