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A South Korean family of four defects to North Korea

January 16, 1997

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ A South Korean family of four has defected to North Korea, the North’s official news agency said today.

Kuk Chol Jung, 36, defected with his wife, Ruy Kyong Ok and their two children, aged seven and three, the Korean Central News Agency said.

``I was convinced that the only way for my family is to come over to the North in which the popular masses form a great harmonious family,″ he was quoted as saying.

Kuk was a lighting equipment assembler along with his wife, the report said. There was no word on their hometown.

While an increasing number of North Koreans are fleeing to South Korea, northward defections are rare. Last month, a North Korean family of 16 arrived in South Korea, describing hunger and malnutrition.

Korea was divided into communist North and capitalist South after World War II. They have remained bitter enemies since their 1950-53 Korean War.

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