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International relations

North Korean defectors divided on Seoul detente

Some former hawks see merit in softer line towards Pyongyang

Kang Myung-do, a defector who fled North Korea in 1994, discusses his thoughts on engagement with Pyongyang at a Seoul hotel. (Photo John Power)

SEOUL -- Days before Moon Jae-in was elected president of South Korea on May 9, about 300 people gathered at the national legislature to endorse the former human rights lawyer and advocate of dialogue and engagement with reclusive North Korea. Surprisingly, the group comprised many North Korean defectors, a demographic known in the South for its conservative politics and strong support for sanctions and isolation of Pyongyang.

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