North Sends Message to Recent Defectors

“There are family members of the four who have died or are still unconscious after waiting for their loved ones.”

A quote from North Korea directed at the four people who chose to remain behind while their comrades, who were all on a boat that drifted into South Korean waters in February, were repatriated to the North. Of the 31 who were on the boat when it mistakenly entered South Korean waters and was captured by the South Korean Navy, 27 chose to return to the North and were sent back on 27 March. The remaining four apparently decided to defect, only to get the message above from the North on Monday (click here for a related story in English from the South’s JoongAng Daily, or here for the original North Korean story in English, or Korean).

Interestingly, the English version of the North Korean report doesn’t contain the quote above, it’s only in the Korean version. Hmm, why is that? Why, a couple of weeks after the four defected, did the North suddenly send a message to the defectors that their family members had died or are unconscious?

That’s always the saddest part of talking to defectors, or reading their accounts: the repercussions their actions have on family members left behind. The North doesn’t play games with those that embarrass it and this message is designed to remind those four of what is currently happening to the family members they left behind.


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