Two North Korean families have defected to South Korea by taking the perilous journey in a fishing boat across the Northern Limit Line, the de factor sea border.
This is the first time since July 2017 that North Koreans have defected across the sea.
Military authorities here said on Thursday they spotted a fishing boat approaching the NLL in the West Sea on the night of May 6. Around midnight, they sent troops to intercept it as it crossed the NLL and began approaching Yeonpyeong Island. Ten North Koreans including children were found on board.
They reportedly told military authorities they were not lost but were defecting intentionally and were taken to the capital region for questioning.
A Unification Ministry official told reporters that routine questioning is underway to verify their intentions.
The Yoon Suk-yeol administration has emphasized the principle of accepting all North Korean defectors, in stark contrast to the former administration, which forcibly repatriated two North Korean fishermen in 2019 who were blindfolded and struggled desperately against their return to the North.
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