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South Korea Asks China to Send the Defectors on Strike

Posted March. 25, 2004 22:28,   


The South Korean government is in the process of verifying the report that North Korean defectors detained in the Chinese Anshan camp in Jilin, Tumen are on a hunger strike. The South Korean government has also requested that Kang Eun-hee (25), Park Il-man, (38), and seven other detainees on hunger strikes be sent to South Korea as an act of humanitarianism.

An officer from the Korean Embassy in China said, “We are persistently negotiating with the Chinese government with the goal of sending Kang and other detainees to the South,” and added, “I can’t assure the exact time, but when looking back to the precedent, I look forward to the possibility that China will send them to Korea.”

An officer from the South Korean Foreign Ministry said, “We are still verifying the matter, and we believe Kang and others are no longer on a hunger strike.”

Along with this, there are assertions that one of the seven defectors, Kim Soon-jung (21, female), was imprisoned in Anshan camp months before the other six and has been repatriated back to the North.

Chun Ki-won, a missionary from the sponsor group for North Korean defectors, the Durihana Mission Foundation, said, “Kim was captured in Kwangsi, Zhuangzu Province and was immediately sent to the Anshan prison camp. I have heard news that she has already been sent to the North,” and added, “I am tracking Kim’s whereabouts through an unofficial line in China.”

Ever since broadcasting their movements, international human rights organizations have exhibited their intentions to join in and the problem has evolved into an international issue.

Kang and the seven defectors were trying to enter Nanning, Vietnam illegally to go to South Korea on February 11 but were arrested and sent to Anshan camp. Since their arrest, they have gone on a hunger strike, demanding to be sent to South Korea. More than 100 other imprisoned defectors are known to have joined the hunger strike.

Jung-Ahn Kim credo@donga.com