June 30th, 2009
Crossing Heaven's Border
Map: A Circuitous Escape Route from North to South Korea

The Demilitarized Zone on the border between North Korea and South Korea is heavily guarded, so most North Korean defectors escape hunger, poverty, and political oppression by heading north and crossing into China. From there, those who can afford it begin a 3,000 mile clandestine journey through China and on to other countries in the region. Some defectors take southern routes through Laos, Myanmar or Vietnam to Thailand, where they can apply for asylum at the South Korean embassy in Bangkok. Others brave extreme temperatures and take a northern route to Mongolia or Russia. Click on the points in this map to follow one of the routes traveled in Crossing Heaven’s Border, and learn about each country’s policy toward North Korean defectors.

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