Friday, September 17, 2004

many defectors want to emigrate

[The above title come from the following Korea Herald article, which appears in the print edition but, as of this writing, doesn't appear to have shown up in the online edition. I wonder why.]

(Yonhap) Seven out of 10 North Korean defectors living in South Korea want to emigrate to the United States, Canada, or Australia, a newspaper poll found.

The survey of 100 defectors conducted by the Segye Times and published Wednesday found that four [sic] out of 10 defectors are dissatisfied with their new life in the capitalist South and hope to emigrate to other countries.

Asked if they would go back to the communist homeland if they were given a chance to legally do so, 33 percent said they were willing to do so, an indication they have failed to adjust to life in South Korea.

The inter-Korean border is sealed, and nobody can travel to the other side without government approval, which is rarely given.

The North Koreans said employment, education, livelihood and loneliness are the major problems they encounter in the South, and they placed their top priority on government help in seeking jobs, expansion of financial support and education assistance.

To help them start their life in the South, Seoul offers 36 million won ($30,900) to defectors over a 20-month period, but these and other types of financial aid are due to be cut starting next year as part of an incentive system to encourage them to receive vocational training and seek jobs.

This week the government said it plans to extend the basic education period for defectors to help them better adapt. The plan calls for extending the training period for the defectors to three months from the current two months in the Hanawon resettlement center, beginning next month. The resettlement center in Anseong, about 80 kilometers south of Seoul, provides housing and job training for the North Korean defectors.

More than 5000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the Korean War ended in 1953 to escape political oppression and poverty. Nearly 1400 North Koreans have defected to Seoul so far this year. The most recent arrivals were 468 defectors Seoul airlifted from a Southeast Asian country in late July in the largest defection ever.


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