Archive for the ‘2011 emigration statistics’ Category

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)

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.


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)


Lankov on North Korean defection numbers

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Lankov writes in the Asia Times:

First, large-scale movement from North Korea is a recent phenomenon. In 2001, merely 1,200 North Koreans resided in the South (the population of South Korea was slightly below 50 million). This number included all former residents of North Korea who had managed to flee to the South since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

One should not be surprised by such low numbers: Until the late 1990s, North Korea remained a hyper-Stalinist society, and escape was next to impossible to all but members of few privileged groups (diplomats and students overseas, soldiers from the front-line units, sailors and fishermen). So until the early 1990s, in the average year merely four of five North Koreans fled to the South. In the early 1990s, the numbers began to be counted in dozens, but the real growth began around 2000 when the number of arrivals came to be counted in hundreds and then thousands.



DPRK emigration stats

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

According to the Daily NK:

The number of defectors entering South Korea increased 15% year-on-year between 2010 and 2011, reaching a total of 2,737 people last year [2011], according to recently published Ministry of Unification statistics.

The highest number of defectors entering the country was recorded in 2009, when 2,927 defectors made their way into South Korea, but there was a sharp drop-off in 2010.

The annual number of defectors first broke through the 1,000 person barrier in 2001, before exceeding 2,000 for the first time in 2006. The total number of defectors living in South Korea stood at 23,100 in December last year.

The percentage of women defectors passed through the 70% barrier for the first time in 2006, a trend which has perpetuated. At its peak, the percentage of women reached 78% in 2007 and 2008 before dropping back to 69% last year. 15,929 of those now residing in South Korea are female, compared to 7,171 males.

It is asserted that the reason why the percentage of women is so high is because women, the main breadwinners in North Korea society, often decide to go to China to earn money with the intention of returning, but many later make the decision to defect instead.

As of last June, the demographic breakdown of the approximately 23,000 defectors by age was 32% in their thirties, 27% in their twenties, 15% in their forties and 12% teenagers.

A large majority (70%) had only finished middle or high school, while 9% had been to vocational colleges and 8% had graduated from university.

Half of all defectors were unemployed before coming to South Korea, while 38% were laborers, 4% volunteers and 3% from the military. 29% now reside in Seoul, while other areas with substantial populations are neighboring Gyeonggi Province with 27% and nearby Incheon with 9%.

The Wall Street Journal also published the numbers.

Read the full story here:
Defector Numbers Back on the Rise
Daily NK
Kim Yong-hun


2011 DPRK emigration statistics

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

UPDATE 4 (2011-10-9): According to Yonhap, only 20 North Korean defectors are working as public servants in South Korea:

Only 20 North Korean defectors work as public servants in South Korea, an opposition lawmaker said Sunday, the latest sign that North Koreans are struggling to join mainstream South Korean society.

The figure represents just a small fraction of the more than 22,000 North Korean defectors in South Korea.

In June, Cho Myung-chul, a former economics professor at the North’s elite Kim Il-sung University, was appointed to lead a government body in charge of educating citizens on unification with North Korea.

Cho is the first North Korean defector to become a senior government official in South Korea.

Nineteen others work in the Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, in the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and in Incheon city, as well as in Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds Seoul, according to Park Joo-sun of the opposition Democratic Party.

Separately, 38 North Korean defectors are temporary workers in the central and local governments under a program aimed at expanding employment of North Korean defectors, Park said, citing the Unification Ministry.

A recent survey showed the unemployment rate of North Korean defectors stood at 9.2 percent, about three times higher than that of other South Koreans.

UPDATE 3 (2011-9-23): Yonhap reports that DPRK student defectors increase 3.5-fold since 2006:

A total of 1,681 elementary, middle and high school students fleeing from the communist country reside here in 2011, up 235.9 percent from 475 in 2006, according to the report by the education ministry and submitted to parliament for a regular audit.

Elementary school students accounted for 60.7 percent of the defector students below college level, followed by high school students with 22.2 percent and middle school students with 17.1 percent, the report showed.

The total number of North Koreans defecting to the South surpassed the 20,000 mark in November last year for the first time, almost double from around 10,200 in 2006, according to the Unification Ministry data.

Meanwhile, the dropout rate of North Korean defectors in schools here has gradually decreased over the past few years, from 10.8 percent in 2007 to 6.1 percent in 2008 to 4.7 percent in 2010, according to the report, a sign that efforts to help support young North Korean defectors paid off.

Reasons for their withdrawal from the regular schooling include adjustment failure, responsibilities for housework and taking a school qualification exam instead of completing high school for entering college, the report showed.

UPDATE 2 (2011-9-19): Yonhap reports that 378 N. Korean defectors under protection of S. Korea’s overseas missions.  According to the report:

“As of the end of July, a total of 378 North Korean defectors are under the protection of overseas missions and the ministry is working with relevant nations and international organizations to swiftly transfer them to South Korea,” the ministry said in a report to the National Assembly.

The number of defectors arriving in South Korea via its diplomatic missions totaled 2,423 last year, 2,927 in 2009, 2,089 in 2008, 2,544 in 2007 and 2,018 in 2006, according to the report.

From January to August this year, 1,797 defectors arrived in the South via the diplomatic missions, it said.

UPDATE 1 (2011-7-4): According to Yonhap:

The number of North Korean defectors to South Korea has exceeded 1,400 [1,428] in the first six months of the year, up 14 percent compared to the same period last year, a government official here said Monday.

The Choson Ilbo also reports on the emigration numbers:

The Unification Ministry on Monday said 52 percent of the 1,428 North Koreans who came to South Korea in the first half of this year took a year or less to complete the journey, significantly more than the 30 percent in 2009 and 39 percent in 2010.

After a sudden 19-percent drop last year, the number of North Koreans who come to the South is growing again. It steadily increased until 2009 to hit 2,927. But amid growing unrest, the regime cracked down on defectors and it seems asked China to help. But the Chinese crackdowns simply hastened defectors’ move to South Korea, so the figure skyrocketed again this year and is likely to exceed 3,000 by the end of this year, according to the ministry official.

Meanwhile, 47 percent of the new arrivals in the first half of this year had family members already living in the South, up from 36.4 percent from last year. Those who were accompanied by their families also took up a bigger share with 49 percent, up 10 percent from last year. The official said the reason is that many whole families are escaping as they see no hope in the isolated country and plan to go to South Korea from the start. “It’s not just because of economic hardship,” he added.

There are a total of 21,788 North Korean defectors in the South, of whom 75 percent are between the age of 20 and 49, and 72 percent women.

ORIGINAL POST (2011-6-13): According to KBS:

The number of North Korean defectors who entered South Korea this year numbered around eleven-hundred at the end of May.

This is up 14 percent from the same time last year.

A Unification Ministry official on Monday told reporters that the rise is considered unusual given the North has tightened border security.

Read the full story here:
Seoul says flow of N. Korean defectors likely to continue

No. of NK Defectors who Enter S.Korea Rises 14%