Two North Korean men defected to South Korea via the East Sea on Wednesday, the South Korean unification ministry (MOU) confirmed to NK News on Thursday.
The men were found in seas roughly 100 km from the Dokdo islets, a ministry spokesperson said, and are two of three North Koreans to reportedly cross into the South in the past two days. They were discovered in a small wooden boat, the spokesperson said, and told the navy that they wanted to defect to South Korea.
A South Korean marine policeperson declined to give further details about the identity of the two escapees, though said they are “not that old.”
2017 has seen 11 defectors come to South Korea by crossing the maritime border between the two countries, the MOU said.
Defections across the inter-Korean border are relatively rare: North Koreans are much more likely to cross at the country’s border with China before seeking asylum in third countries.