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North Korea is one of the world's most secretive states. Historical Background The Korean Peninsula, historically known for its ability to stay ethnically and linguistically homogeneous and keep regional and Western powers at bay, was first invaded by the Mongols during the 13th century and by other neighboring states from the late-16th century onward.

This article explores the various forms of humanitarian and economic migration flows and illustrates the situation of North Koreans living abroad.

Furthermore, according to the South Korean Ministry of Unification, approximately 80,000 South Koreans were forcibly taken to the North during the Korean War; as of December 2004, approximately 600 POWs were still alive and 486 South Korean abductees still lived in the North.

While Kim Jong-il, the son of Kim Il-sung and the current leader of North Korea, admitted in 2002 to then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi that his country had engaged in kidnappings during the 1970s and 1980s, the abduction issue remains an imperative, albeit sensitive, political issue in current bilateral and six-party talks with North Korea.

The Republic of Korea (ROK, or South Korea) was established on August 15, 1948, and elected Syngman Rhee as its president.Japan's defeat in World War II led the United States and the former Soviet Union to find a temporary solution to the future of Korea.Under the trusteeship of the United Nations, the Korean Peninsula was divided into two parts, with the United States administering the southern territory and the former Soviet Union the north.Despite these mobility restrictions, the size of refugee flows from North Korea, particularly to China and countries in Southeast Asia and Mongolia, overwhelms immigration flows to North Korea from these countries.North Korea is also known for having kidnapped Korean, Japanese, Thai, Lebanese, and Romanian nationals during and after the Korean War.

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