South Korea says it has decided to appoint a North Korean defector as head of a government research institute. It would be the highest South Korean government job that a North Korean refugee has ever taken.
The Unification Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that economist Cho Myung-chul will be formally appointed as chief of the ministry-affiliated Education Center for Unification later this week.
Media reports say Cho taught at Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung University and defected in 1994. Cho currently works at Seoul-based Korea Institute for International Economic Policy.
More than 21,000 North Koreans have fled to South Korea to avoid political oppression and hunger since the Korean War ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty, in 1953.