Kim Jong Un Reportedly Hit By More Defections
Gov't says asylum seekers haven't contacted Japan
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2016 8:31 AM CDT
Kim Jong Un is seen in Pyongyang in May.   (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

(Newser) – One or two officials may have followed the lead of a diplomat in London and defected from North Korea. A Health Ministry official stationed at North Korea's embassy in Beijing—tasked with sourcing medical supplies for a clinic visited by Kim Jong Un and his family—has reportedly sought asylum after disappearing with his family late last month, reports South Korea's Yonhap News, per AFP. The report doesn't mention his proposed destination. However, a source tells a separate South Korean paper that two staffers at the Beijing embassy—including one who sourced medical supplies for a Pyongyang clinic—are seeking asylum at the Japanese embassy in Beijing.

The source says the two officials went into hiding around the same time before resurfacing at the Japanese embassy. The source says Chinese and Japanese officials are discussing their cases, but officials are also working to house the defectors in South Korea, per the South China Morning Post. A rep for the Japanese government, however, says "there's no truth in the reports that North Korean asylum seekers contacted the Japanese embassy, and we're not aware of any situation involving North Koreans hoping to defect to Japan." A rep for South Korea's Unification Ministry adds "at this moment, I have nothing to confirm on the report." (A North Korean soldier just defected.)