중앙데일리

Defectors from North in China go to the U.S.

July 25,2006
BEIJING - Three North Korean defectors left for the United States on Sunday, sources here said Monday. In May, four North Koreans made their way into a South Korean diplomatic mission in Shenyang, a northeastern industrial city. Shortly thereafter, they scaled a wall to enter the adjoining U.S. diplomatic premises and sought asylum in the United States.
Two of the defectors who asked for asylum in the United States are men and the third is a woman. All are in their 20s or 30s, but have not been more precisely identified.
A fourth member of their party, who also asked for U.S. asylum, was rejected by Washington. He was a former employee of a security unit in North Korea that monitors the civilian population and runs political prisons. The source said this man will probably go to South Korea soon.
In another sign of the gradual cooling of relations between Beijing and Pyongyang, the three U.S.-bound defectors will travel there directly from China. In the past, Beijing has demanded that asylum-seekers transit a third country before moving on to their final home. The Philippines has been one common waypoint.
The three reportedly began to consider U.S. asylum after learning that six of their countrymen were admitted to the United States in May.
Korea’s Foreign Ministry usually does not confirm the fate of North Korean defectors for reasons of security and fears that family members of defectors still in the North would be punished. A ministry official said yesterday Seoul’s policy was to accept any defector wishing to settle in South Korea but that it does not oppose resettlement in other countries. He said some North Korean defectors have also settled in Europe.
The United States recently relaxed its rules on accepting North Korean defectors to comply with a 2004 U.S. law. Separately, a U.S. immigration judge ordered in April that a North Korean family already resettled in South Korea be given asylum. That drew protests from Seoul because the basis for the asylum claim was discrimination against the family in South Korea.


by Yoo Kwang-jong


dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장