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Mongolian government, "We Are Not Going to Hand Over North Korean Refugees"

Mongolian government, "We Are Not Going to Hand Over North Korean Refugees"

Posted November. 15, 2004 23:07,   


The Mongolian government, which has diplomatic relations with both South Korea and North Korea, revealed its position to accept North Korean defectors who enter its nation across its border with China for the moment.

The International Herald Tribune on Monday reported, quoting Munh-Orgil Tsendiin, Mongolia’s minister of Foreign Affairs, as saying, “The border guards have already been ordered not to hand over North Korean asylum seekers to the Chinese police,” in an article titled, “North Korean Defectors Who Put Mongolia in a Difficult Situation.”

According to the report, Mr. Tsendiin added, “Once they are confirmed as North Korean defectors, we will give them room and board until they find any country that will give them entry.”

However, the minister assured, “To be honest, I don’t want refugee camps built here,” which confirmed his opposition to the idea of having North Koreans stay in his country permanently.

Meanwhile, China has recently strengthened its control over North Korean refugees. A diplomatic source based in Beijing reported, “Since there have been many attempts to enter foreign missions, the Chinese police is planning to crack down on North Korean defectors by the end of this year. The police is doing door-to-door searches in places suspected of harboring groups of North Korean nationals.”

Also, it is reported that North Korea has extended the number of border guards around the areas near the Chinese border.

In the meantime, Rev. Shin Dong-churl, head of a civic group for North Korean refugees, Exodus 21, claimed a North Korean defector identified as Hwang Dae-su, 29, a former construction worker stationed in Russia, entered the South Korean Consulate in Vladivostok on Monday at around 11:00 a.m. and requested diplomatic protection and a flight to Seoul.

According to Shin, the defector worked as an interpreter for North Korean laborers in Vladivostok. However, he refused to respond to an order to return to Pyongyang last November and has been under detention at a North Korean authority’s lodging since then until escaping from the place.

Dong-Won Kim daviskim@donga.com