Aug. 13 (UPI) -- The death of a North Korean woman and her child in their apartment in Seoul is raising questions about South Korean state support for defectors who often resettle in the South, according to a local press report.
The woman, who was found dead with her 6-year-old son in her home in late July, may have died from starvation, due to a lack of resources that are usually made available to North Korean refugees upon arrival, Maeil Business reported.
The woman, only identified by her surname Han, was in her early 40s, according to Seoul's Gwanak District police on Tuesday.
Han may have no longer been eligible for a monthly stipend from the South Korean government at the time of her death, because she had resettled in the South 10 years ago.
The defector also left South Korea after resettlement, after she met her husband, an ethnic Korean man from China. The couple gave birth to a son then moved to China. It is unclear when the family left South Korea, but Han returned to the South in 2018 after divorce, according to Maeil Business.
A South Korean unification ministry official who spoke to the newspaper said current law provides support for defectors up to the fifth year of resettlement.
The official also said Han's death indicates a "blind spot" is posing problems for defectors who continue to face difficulties adjusting to South Korea's capitalist society.
Seoul's policies regarding defectors are to come under review, the official added.
Han and her child may have starved to death, according to reports.
South Korean lawmakers across party lines are condemning the neglect that contributed to the death of the defectors.
The ruling Democratic Party said the incident is a "very tragic case" and called for improved support, while opposition conservatives blamed the unification ministry for the deaths, according to Yonhap.