Archive for the ‘2012 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.


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


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


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)


North Korean emigration numbers

Monday, September 17th, 2012

The Daily NK offers some recent numbers on North Koreans that have arrived in the South:

According to Ministry of Unification statistics, the number of defectors arriving in South Korea is indeed beginning to rise slightly, going from 90 in February to 116 in March, 107 in April, 137 in May, 141 in June and 164 in July.

Hyun continued, “The cost of defection has risen to more than five million won, while there are almost no travel permits being issued and close checks being conducted on accommodations in the region. However, orders from above are only being kept at a low level and, as time goes by, will go slack and the number of defections will once again rise.”

“It is true that the number of defectors arriving in South Korea has fallen compared to last year, but because people cannot survive on state distribution and wages they are going to keep on trying to defect irrespective of the official controls.”

Hyun added that in Hyesan the number of people defecting is beginning to rise because it has become harder to make money from smuggling in the face of increased border security.

Read the full story here:
North Korea Can’t Stop the Defections Forever
Daily NK
Mok Yong Jae


DPRK arrivals in the ROK down in 2012

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

UPDATE (2012-8-3): Although just a month has passed since we received information on the number of North Koreans entering the ROK. According to the Choson Ilbo:

The number of North Korean defectors arriving in South Korea in the first half of this year dropped to half that of the same period last year. According to the Unification Ministry on Thursday, 751 defectors arrived from January to June, down 45.4 percent from 1,375 on-year.

The number of defectors arriving here mostly rose every year since 2001, when it first exceeded 1,000. The figure only dropped in 2005, by 27 percent, and in 2010, by 19 percent. But this is the first time that the number has fallen so drastically

ORIGINAL POST (2012-7-1): According to a report in Yonhap:

The number of North Korean defectors to South Korea tumbled 43 percent in the first five months of 2012 from a year earlier due to increased security along the North Korea-China border, the Seoul government said Sunday.

A total of 610 North Korean defectors arrived in South Korea in the January-May period, down 42.6 percent from the same period last year, according to data from the Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs.

The number of arrivals in the January-May period last year reached 1,062, with the full-year total rising to 2,706.

January recorded the largest number of arrivals this year at 160, while February recorded the smallest number at 90, the ministry said. Last year, the number of monthly arrivals surpassed 200 in nine out of 12 months.

There are now more than 23,500 individuals of North Korean origin in the ROK.

Question to ponder: Does a decrease in emigration from the DPRK promote stability or instability for the North Korean system?

Previous posts on this topic here.

Read the full story here:
N. Korean defector arrivals drop 43 pct this year


Number of DPRK defectors to the South drops

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

According to Yonhap:

A total of 366 North Korean defectors arrived in South Korea in the first three months of this year, down sharply from 566 in the same period last year, the Unification Ministry said Tuesday.

The North Koreans are composed of 119 men and 247 women, according to the ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs.

Rights activists said the number of new arrivals decreased as the defection of North Koreans has become more difficult due to crackdowns on defectors and increased costs in illegally crossing the border into China.

Many North Korean defectors in the South claim that they bribed North Korean guards to flee across the border into China.

South Korea is home to more than 23,500 North Korean defectors as a constant stream of North Koreans has fled their communist homeland to try to avoid chronic food shortages and harsh political oppression.

Read about 2011 emigration numbers here.

Read the full story here:
Arrivals of N. Korean defectors drop