North Korean woman claims she was tricked into defecting

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The Independent Online

A North Korean woman has claimed that she was tricked into defecting six years ago by South Korean agents who offered to arrange a reunion with her father who went to the South during the Korean War.

"I am an ingrate who had betrayed my motherland to seek better living while others devoted themselves to building a thriving nation, tightening their belts," Pak Jong Suk, 66, said at a news conference in Pyongyang yesterday.

It's not known whether Ms Pak spoke voluntarily, but North Korea has bristled at allegations of rights abuses and maltreatment of repatriated defectors.

Ms Pak said she slipped undetected into China in March 2006, after being promised that she would be reunited with her dying father. She claimed she was tricked by South Korean intelligence agents. She lived in South Korea before returning to North Korea on 25 May because she had become disillusioned with life in the South.

"I deserve punishment. But Kim Jong Un did not blame me but was so kind as to enable me to enjoy the greatest happiness," Ms Pak said.