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8,000 defect from North since end of Korean War

Jan 19,2006
Almost 1,400 North Koreans defected to South Korea last year, raising the total number of defectors to the South since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War to 8,000, officials at the South Korean Unification Ministry said yesterday.
A total of 167 North Koreans found their way to the South in December alone, bringing the total number for 2005 to 1,386, the officials said on condition of anonymity.
The number was down from 1,894 in 2004, but the officials said the number has been generally rising in recent years.
A group of 486 North Korean defectors was airlifted to the country in 2004 from an unidentified Southeast Asian country, marking the single largest defection of North Koreans since the end of the Korean War.
An estimated 300,000 North Koreans are now believed to be in hiding overseas, mostly in China.


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