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[Editorial] The North Korean Defector Issues Passed the State of ‘Quiet Settlement.’

[Editorial] The North Korean Defector Issues Passed the State of ‘Quiet Settlement.’

Posted August. 19, 2002 22:27,   


We cannot understand that although there was a serious incident that 21 North Koreans defected using small wooden boat, the Government decided to settle this quietly even without an official comment. It seems the South Korean Government tries not to stimulate North Korea; but the matter of regret is that although the Government keeps quiet, the North Korean Defector issues will not be hidden. Even the foreign media takes this as major news, and the neighboring countries react sensitively, but only our government is keeping it quiet. We would like to ask the government that it might think the South North relationship as exchange of leaders not as national issue.

This group defection might be indicating a possibility that North Koreans’ escape route is changing from going to China through land routes to entering foreign legations, and then massive escape through sea route that reminds us of the ‘boat people’ in Vietnam or Cuba. Including a German, Norbert Vollertsen, who said he would take 1,500 defectors out of North Korea using boats, there are some movements of NGO’s to support North Korean defectors through sea routes.

This is the time for North Korea, our government, and the neighboring counties such as China and Japan to find the solution for the North Korean defectors issue. China is troubling with tens of thousands defectors, and our situation is serious as well because we must take more than 1,000 defectors a year. It is urgent to make countermeasure to reduce wasting diplomatic complications about the final destination of the defectors and North Korean victims while escaping the country.

Most of all, the Government must tell North Korea that the fundamental solution for escaping from North Korea is needed. Since there are various communication channels are open including the Minister-Level Talks, there will be many ways to talk about the issue. It will be difficult to stop escaping from North Korea without solving the fundamental problems whether it might be violation of human rights or poverty. The state of accepting defectors with fraternity and love for mankind is already passed. It is time for the Government to change their conception about the North Korean defectors issue.