A high-ranking officer from Kim Jong Un's military spy agency has defected, according to South Korea's government.
"Although I cannot provide details, I can confirm the ... defection," South Korean defense ministry spokesman Moon Sang Keun told a press briefing on Monday, NBC News reported.
The incident occurred last year but had not previously been announced. Government officials in Seoul described the defector as a senior colonel in North Korea's General Reconnaissance Bureau but did not identify him by name.
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Cha Du Hyeogn, a North Korea expert at the Korean Institute for National Reunification in Seoul, said a senior colonel would be "the highest military ranking so far to have defected to South Korea since the Korean War" ended in 1953.