OREANDA-NEWS. According to Yonhap news agency in early January, an unidentified man crossed a roadblock in the eastern South Korean province of Gangwon-do and fled into North Korea.

According to data recorded by special equipment, the man was in the demilitarized zone at 9:20 p.m. Saturday local time (3:20 p.m. Moscow time). About an hour later, he crossed the demarcation line.

Information on his identity was not specified. According to Reuters, he is a South Korean national.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) has notified the DPRK of the incident. No word yet on the fate of the man.

Cases of defectors to North Korea from South Korea are quite rare, the agency notes.

Usually defectors from North Korea leave (for example, for work) for other South-East Asian countries, such as Thailand, Vietnam or China, and then end up in South Korea.

In January 2021, South Korea's Unification Ministry reported that the number of defectors from North Korea had fallen sharply amid the pandemic, with only 229 people illegally crossing the border between the two countries in 2020, down significantly from 1,047 in 2019.

In September 2020, South Korea's defence ministry reported that North Korean border guards shot dead a South Korean ministry official who went missing near the North Korean border and his body was cremated. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un apologised to Seoul, saying "something that should not have happened" had happened.