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Seoul Summons Chinese Ambassador Over Defection Incident

Seoul Summons Chinese Ambassador Over Defection Incident

Posted January. 13, 2005 22:37,   


About the incident that the Chinese government blocked the news conference of four South Korean lawmakers of the Grand National Party about the human rights issue of North Korean defectors in China, the South Korean government summoned the Chinese Ambassador in Seoul, Li Bin, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on January 13. It expressed regrets over the event, asked for an explanation and a promise not to let it happen again. At the briefing on the same day, a spokesperson of the ministry, Lee Kyu-hyung, said, “Vice Minister Choi Young-jin notified the position of the government to Ambassador Li, and he responded that he will report it to Chinese headquarters.”

According to spokesman Lee, Ambassador Li added, “The incident took place since the representatives of the GNP violated Chinese laws. However, I hope it won’t render any negative impact on the future relationship between China and South Korea.”

The GNP also strongly demanded an explanation and an apology from the Chinese authorities on this incident.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government attributed the responsibility to the lawmakers of the GNP on the same day. At a regular briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan argued, “The press conference of the representatives of the GNP might have encouraged the illegal activities of the North Korean defectors in China, and it didn’t suit the purposes of their visit.”

Spokesman Kong also said, “One representative was invited to China by the embassy, but other three came on tourist visas. China welcomes the Korean lawmakers’ visits, but they need to respect the laws of China.”

Yoo-Seong Hwang Hyong-gwon Pu yshwang@donga.com bookum90@donga.com