The Seoul government has confirmed reports that two senior North Korean officials defected to South Korea last year. Yiming Woo reports.
The South Korean government has made the unusual move of confirming the defections of two senior North Korean officials last year. One of them, an army colonel, specialised in spying against the South. His defection is considered a coup for Seoul and he's been granted political asylum. The other official is a senior diplomat who has defected with his family. Unification Ministry spokesman, Jeong Joon-hee: (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREAN UNIFICATION MINISTRY SPOKESMAN, JEONG JOON-HEE, SAYING: "From the perspective of our government, we believe that this can be one of the examples showing signs of disorder in the powerful class of North Korea." On Friday, Seoul announced that 13 workers at a restaurant run by the North in an undisclosed third country had defected as a group. They arrived in South Korea on Thursday. The government's denying suggestions the latest revelations are politically motivated and says they're in the public interest. Tens of thousands of North Koreans have defected to the South since the end of the Korean War in 1953.