North Korea's deputy ambassador in UK, his family defected
North Korea's deputy ambassador in London has defected with his family, according to Reuters report.
South Korea's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported on Tuesday that a high-profile diplomat in the UK defected with his wife and son to a "third country". The BBC named the defector as veteran diplomat Thae Yong Ho, a counsellor at the North Korean embassy and deputy to the ambassador.
Quoting an unnamed source, JoongAng Ilbo said the diplomat embarked on a defection journey "following a scrupulous plan" and was in the process of "landing in a third country as an asylum seeker."
It was not clear from the newspaper report whether the third country was the UK. The term is usually used in South Korean media to refer to a country which is neither North nor South Korea.
Thae's reported defection follows a string of recent such flights. The number of defections by North Koreans to the South has totalled 814 up to and including July this year, an annual increase of 15 percent.