North Korea's deputy ambassador to the UK, Thae Yong Ho, has defected with his family, South Korean officials have confirmed.
Yong Ho was a counsellor at the North Korean embassy, which is based in a suburban house in Ealing, and was deputy to the ambassador.
The veteran diplomat is thought to be one of the most high-profile defections from the insular Communist nation.
Yong Ho had been due to return to Pyongyang with his wife and children, the BBC reported.
The unification ministry in Seoul confirmed today that he had recently defected, after vanishing earlier this month with his family.
A spokesman for the unification ministry, Jeong Joon-hee, told a news conference Yong Ho had been "sick and tired" of Kim Jong-Un's regime.
South Korea's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported on Tuesday that a high-profile diplomat in the UK defected with his wife and son to a "third country", according to Reuters.