North Koreans Found In South Korean Waters

( – Four North Koreans were found in a small wooden boat in South Korean waters on Tuesday, October 24. Most of the time, when North Koreans try to defect to the south, they go through the demilitarized zone (DMZ). It is rare for defectors to travel by sea.

South Korean coast guard troops located the vessel south of the eastern sea border shared by the two Koreas on Tuesday morning following a report from a fishing boat. Upon boarding, the four people said they were North Koreans, stated coast guard officials.

KBS, a South Korean broadcasting service, noted that they were unarmed and not in military attire when they were discovered. The South Korean Unification Ministry refrained from disclosing personal information, citing an ongoing investigation.

Defecting by sea is extremely dangerous, with many North Korean escapees believed to have perished when their boats sank in adverse weather conditions. Nonetheless, some individuals choose the sea route because it enables group defection and is significantly faster than the China-Southeast Asian route, which typically spans weeks or months before reaching South Korea.

According to SK sources, North Koreans usually cross the border with China individually or in pairs, without disclosing their escape plans to anyone, including family members, due to concerns about arrests. The four North Koreans found on Tuesday likely hailed from the same family and departed from a coastal town relatively close to the South Korean sea border the day before.

In 2019, South Korea deported two North Korean fishermen who had initially expressed a desire to resettle in the south, but investigations concluded they were criminals responsible for the killing of 16 fellow crew members.

Human rights groups strongly condemned the 2019 deportation, saying that South Korea’s government deported them too fast, missing an opportunity to improve relations between the fractured countries.

Copyright 2023,