London: A North Korean diplomat posted at the country's London embassy has defected to another nation, according to a media report here on Tuesday.
The diplomat, whose name has not been disclosed, left the embassy in west London earlier this month for a "third country", BBC quoted reports in the South Korean media as saying.
The UK Foreign Office has not commented on the alleged defection but has indicated it is trying to verify the reports.
The diplomat from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has reportedly lived in the UK for 10 years with his wife and family.
"A DPRK diplomat in London is going through procedures to seek asylum in a third country," claims a report in the South Korean daily newspaper 'JoongAng Ilbo'.
"The DPRK Embassy made belated attempts to figure out the diplomat's whereabouts, but has failed," the paper's report added, citing an anonymous source.
The paper said that in this context "a third country" means one which is not either North or South Korea.
"The intelligence benefits to the UK and its allies from such a deflection are likely to prove valuable," John Nilsson-Wright, an expert on Asian affairs at the London-based Chatham House think tank, told BBC.
The North Korean embassy is located in the residential area of Ealing in west London and is headed by Ambassador Hyon Hak Bong....