The son of the highest-profile South Korean ever to defect to North Korea has arrived in Pyongyang to permanently resettle.
The state-run Uriminzokkiri website reported that Choe In-guk arrived in the capital on Saturday to “dedicate his life to Korean unification at the guidance of leader Kim Jong Un”.
The website published photos and footage showing Mr Choe reading his arrival statement at Pyongyang’s international airport.
Choe is the son of former South Korean foreign minister Choe Dok-shin, who defected to the North in 1986 with his wife after political disputes with then-South Korean president Park Chung-hee. He died in 1989.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry said Choe was in North Korea without special permission from the Seoul government.
A spokesman said Mr Choe was allowed to make 12 authorised trips to North Korea since 2001 for events like visiting his parents’ cemetery and attending the anniversary of his mother’s death.
The two Koreas, split along the world’s most heavily fortified border for about 70 years, bar their citizens from visiting each other’s territory and exchanging phone calls, letters or emails without special permissions.
Since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, more than 30,000 North Koreans have fled to South Korea to avoid political repression and economic poverty, but it is highly unusual for South Koreans to go to North Korea to resettle.