North Korean defector statistics: the curious case of Jagang Province

Links to the military — and the nuclear program — may explain the region’s low number of escapees

The South Korean Ministry of Unification (MOU) has reported that the number of North Korean defectors hailing from Jagang province – a North Korean province on the border with China – increased from 207 to 222 between fall 2018 and winter 2019.

This number represents an increase of just 15 defectors over the course of a 15-month-period from this province. By comparison, other provinces along the border, such as North Hamgyong Province and Ryanggang Province, produced 626 and 774 additional defections, respectively.

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