Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: North Korean diplomat defected to South Korea

South Korea said a North Korean diplomat and three family members. The unification ministry spokesman confirmed a report by Dong-A Ilbo daily that a North Korean diplomat posted in an African nation had defected to Seoul last May with three family members. The news came days after Seoul announced that a group of 13 North Koreans working in a state-run restaurant outside the country had fled to the South in a rare mass defection. The group — one male manager and a dozen women — arrived in the South Thursday. They had reportedly been working at a restaurant in China’s southeastern port city of Ningbo before coming to the South through a third country in Southeast Asia. Seoul rarely confirms defections by North Koreans, especially senior officials, citing the potential threat to their safety. It also does not want to damage diplomatic relations with the countries through which they travel. China is the North’s sole major ally. Pyongyang reportedly has often lodged protests with transit nations used by defectors en route to Seoul.



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