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N.Korean Defectors with Weapons in the S.Korean Embassy in China

N.Korean Defectors with Weapons in the S.Korean Embassy in China

Posted September. 30, 2004 21:39,   


It was reported on September 30 that the South Korean government is aggressively reviewing ways of a conditional handover to China of North Korean defectors who used weapons or violence to enter the Korean Embassy in China.

The South Korean authorities are demanding the Chinese authorities to guarantee the defectors’ return to South Korea after completing relevant investigations and law enforcement.

This request is a compromise on Seoul’s part since Beijing characterized the North defectors’ attempt to enter a foreign compound in Beijing with weapons or using violence as “terrorism,” and had been demanding their “unconditional transfer” (previously reported on A2 of September 14 edition).

A government official said, “The South Korean government has recently delivered to China its position of a conditional handover of the violent defectors, and consultation between the two countries is reportedly underway,” and continued, “Our basic stance is to accept all the asylum-seekers who want to come to South Korea, but we cannot tolerate illegal violence.”

Beijing had been strongly calling on Seoul for the handover of all the defectors, saying that the North Korean defectors who forced their way into the South Korean embassy with weapons on September 10, and two others who entered the complex with fake grenade last June have “blatantly violated” the Chinese criminal law.

However, a controversy is expected, with civic groups that support North Korean defectors strongly arguing, “Because North Korean defectors possess weapons or resort to violence in entering the compounds in order to achieve freedom, their case should be differentiated from regular criminal law violations.”

Hyong-gwon Pu bookum90@donga.com