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Finally We Are in Seoul…… for Freedom!

Posted March. 19, 2002 08:17,   


Stormed into the Spanish embassy in China requesting to send them to Korea and officially expelled to Philippine, 25 North Korean defectors arrived in Seoul at 5:20 P.M. after a 4-day detour.

They left from the airport by vehicles prepared by the government without going through the immigrations desks and customs inspection after having a brief press conference. They will have investigations by the joint investigations of the related government offices for a week and will stay at `Hanawon,` a naturalization organization for the defectors under the Ministry of Unification, for a month to have an education for the settlement in the South.

Unification Minister Chung Sae-Hyun revealed that “the basic government position is to accept all defectors abroad in cooperation with related countries on behalf of brotherly loves and humanitarian concerns on them.”

However, the Chinese government expressed its regrets about the leak of the seeking asylum process of the 25 defectors by the related organizations to the Korean government, anticipating conflicts between the Korea and Chinese government concerning the problem of NK defectors.

A high government official said, “after expelling the NK defectors to Philippine, Chinese government delivered its position through a diplomatic channel that it would be difficult to cooperate with Korean government from now one since the case was not resolved quietly.”

He added, “the Chinese government strongly criticized the ways of the Korean government dealing with the case, the expulsion of the NK defectors would be a precedent of such cases.”

Shin Jeong-Seung, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, announced, “Korean government welcome that the Chinese government decided to allow the 25 NK defectors to leave for the sake of humanitarian concerns. We also greatly appreciate the efforts and cooperation of the Spain government and the Philippine government.”

Ho-Gab Lee gdt@donga.com · Young-Sik Kim spear@donga.com