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Second Group of North Korean Defectors Enters Korea Safely

Second Group of North Korean Defectors Enters Korea Safely

Posted July. 28, 2004 21:52,   


Following the arrival of the first group of defectors on July 27, consisting of 227 North Korean defectors out of 468 that stayed in a southeast Asian country and who entered through Seoul Airport, the second group of 241 defectors arrived in Korea through Incheon International Airport on the morning of July 28 via a special Korean Air flight.

The North Korean defectors who entered Korea this day joined the first group who are staying at an in-service training institute of a certain financial firm in Gyeonggi Province.

After being jointly examined by related headquarters at this training institute, they will be transferred to Hanawon, a support facility for the settlement of North Korean defectors, in Ansung, Gyeonggi starting from mid-August, and they will receive education to adjust to life in Korea for approximately eight weeks.

A foreign source familiar with Seoul stated, “Following the report of a collective transfer of North Korean defectors to South Korea last week, those who wished to come to Korea suddenly jumped in a few days, temporarily totaling ‘480-490 people’; however, the final sum of defectors who entered Korea this time amounted to 468 people.”

In relation to the 468 North Korean defectors who entered Korea simultaneously, a top government official was quoted as saying, “It is a special case under an extremely special circumstance for this incident to take this form,” and added, “Regardless of this case, the government will continue to advance ‘quiet diplomatic relations’ concerning North Korean defectors.”

However, the North Korean side is not responding to a Panmunjeom contact for discussing the timetable for the 15th North-South Korea Ministerial Conference scheduled for next week due to its dissatisfaction towards the large-scale entrance of North Korean defectors this time. An official of the Ministry of Unification stated, “We are thinking of tapping North Korea’s opinion on July 29.”

Hyong-gwon Pu Seung-Ryun Kim bookum90@donga.com srkim@donga.com