S. Korea to designate July 14 as day for N. Korean defectors

South Korea will designate July 14 as the official day for North Korean defectors, the unification ministry said Monday, in its latest effort to better embrace individuals who have fled the reclusive regime. The official designation will be formalized through a presidential decree to be issued Tuesday, following President Yoon Suk Yeol's proposal during a Cabinet meeting nearly four months ago. July 14 was chosen as it marks the enactment of the law on protecting North Korean defectors and supporting their settlement, which came into effect on that date in 1997. To commemorate the new day, the ministry plans to host a ceremony and various events to raise public awareness and support for defectors. In addition, the ministry intends to establish a commemorative venue, such as a monument or park, to honor defectors who have lost their lives, particularly those who died during failed escape attempts. South Korea has a longstanding policy of accepting any North Korean defectors who want to live in the South and repatriating any North Koreans who stray into the South if they want to return. After escaping the North, eight men and 35 women arrived in the South in the January-March period, bringing the total number of North Korean defectors to 34,121, according to the data from the unification ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs. Source: Yonhap News Agency