South Korea says it will strengthen background checks on North Koreans seeking asylum in the South.

South Korean Deputy Unification Minister Rhee Bong-jo says the measures are intended to prevent criminals or ethnic Koreans pretending to be from the North from entering the country.

Mr. Rhee also said South Korea plans to cut financial subsidies to North Korean defectors starting next year. Defectors currently receive a payment of $26,500 on arrival. Mr. Rhee says Seoul plans to increase subsidies for job training for the defectors in an effort to help them adjust.

South Korea says at least 1,850 North Koreans have defected to the South this year.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.