The latest incident of the defection of a soldier from across the border has happened within two months. This must be a matter of concern for Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. This time it was a young soldier in his 20s who is believed to have gathered sufficient courage to make a dash for freedom over the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two countries.

According to CNN, the soldier took advantage of the heavy fog early in the morning and succeeded in his mission. A previous defection was on November 13 when another soldier was shot at by other soldiers when he made good his escape.

The latest defector has been taken into custody and authorities are expected to grill him to understand why he chose to defect. They will also try to find out more about the reclusive state, which is also referred to as the ‘Hermit Kingdom.’

What is the real picture?

North Korea is a secretive country, and its leader Kim Jong-un is obsessed with the development of nuclear weapons with the special emphasis on ICBMs to nuke the United States. Outsiders are allowed access to only a few locations and whatever little is known is through official channels. Therefore, those who defect are encouraged to open up and reveal details about life.

In 2017, there has been a total of four defections – two in June, one in November and the latest one now in December.

An earlier defector had narrated details about the harsh conditions that military servicemen have to endure. They go hungry, and some of them are physically unfit. They find it difficult to walk because of malnourishment. It seems the food supplies of the UN seldom reach the needy.

Defections on the rise

The living conditions in North Korea are not known but, from the defections, it can be assumed that the people are not happy.

These incidents are on the rise with one each in 2015 and 2016 while it is already four in 2017. The figures are not alarming as such, but a trend could be emerging.

Some people try to take the sea route instead of crossing over the border, and perish in the process. This is evident from fishing boats that have washed up on the coasts of Japan with dead bodies and skeletons of people in them.

They are presumed to be North Koreans because of telltale signs like boat markings.

Kim Jong-un has diverted all his resources for developing missiles to nuke the United States with the very little left for the welfare of his people. His activities have resulted in the imposition of economic sanctions by the global community which could have affected the country’s economy. If he wants to prevent defections, he must initiate measures to regain the trust of his people.