South Korea says senior North Korea diplomatic defector now in Seoul

North Korean soldiers keep watch toward the South side at the truce village of Panmunjom on July 27, 2016.
North Korean soldiers keep watch toward the South side at the truce village of Panmunjom on July 27, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (AFP, REUTERS) - South Korea said on Wednesday (Aug 17) that North Korea's deputy ambassador to Britain had defected and was now in Seoul with his family.

The Unification Ministry said Thae Yong Ho - the number two at the North's mission in London - had defected together with his wife and son.

"They are currently under government protection and relevant institutions are going ahead with necessary procedures as usual," said Jeong Joon Hee, a spokesman at the South's Unification Ministry.

Jeong declined to give details on the timing of Thae's arrival or his itinerary.