Go to contents

Berlin to Hand Over North Korean Defectors to Beijing

Posted July. 02, 2004 22:06,   


German high-level diplomatic sources revealed on July 2 that the German government would hand over four North Korean defectors who entered a German school in Beijing on June 30 to Chinese security authorities.

It is reported that Berlin, who had helped North Korean refugees to be admitted to South Korea through a third nation, changed its stand since the defectors threatened school guards and the family of a German diplomat with a knife.

The diplomatic source from Berlin said, “The German government regards the disturbance caused by the knife-wielding defectors as a terrorist act. It appears if Berlin accepted those violent defectors, it would bring an ill precedent.”

A diplomatic source from Beijing also reported, “Berlin already informed Seoul of its decision to hand over the four North Korean refugees to the Chinese authorities. However in its humanitarian efforts, the German government asked the authorities not to repatriate them to the famine-stricken communist North Korea.”

The source added, “So far the Chinese government has dealt with North Korean defector issues considering Chinese municipal law, international law, and humanitarian considerations. However, those refugees actually violated Chinese law, and it is not likely that they will be sent to South Korea easily.”

Meanwhile, human rights activist organizations helping North Korean refugees argued, “A similar armed refugee case also took place when five North Koreans entered a German school in Beijing on June 1. However those refugees had no intention to hurt anyone. The incident was partly because the school guards took excessive measures to stop their entry into the school.”

Four of the five defectors who tried to enter a German school in Beijing on June 30 succeeded. Chinese security authorities arrested the rest.

Berlin, Yonhap

Young-Sik Kim spear@donga.com