The death of a North Korean woman and her child in their apartment in Seoul is raising questions about South Korean state support for defectors who resettle in the South, according to a local press report.
The woman, who was found dead with her 6-year-old son in her home in late July, may have died from starvation.
The woman, only identified by her surname Han, was in her early 40s, according to Seoul’s Gwanak District police. She may have no longer been eligible for a monthly stipend from the South Korean government at the time of her death.
After resettlement, Han the woman defector had apparently left South Korea, and married an ethnic Korean man from China. Han later returned to the South in 2018 after a divorce.
A South Korean unification ministry official said current law provides support for defectors up to the fifth year of resettlement. The official also acknowledged that Han’s death indicates a “blind spot” is posing problems for defectors who continue to face difficulties adjusting to South Korea’s capitalist society.