[EDITORIALS]Deportations resumeWe are lingering in shock, as it has been confirmed that seven North Koreans who entered a Korean international school in Yentai, China, in August seeking to be sent to the South were deported to the North a month after their attempt.
The incident is regrettable as it is not only against humanitarian causes but it also demonstrates a case in which China has broken the international accord on this issue.
Until now, except for a few cases, China has dealt with the North Korean refugees quietly by accommodating the wishes of the refugees. What sort of background has led to China’s sudden shift in its diplomacy is something that interests us, while we need active countermeasures by our government and international society.
Upon receiving the news on Aug. 29 that seven North Koreans entered a Korean international school, our Foreign Ministry immediately made clear that it wanted to protect these North Koreans at South Korean diplomatic residences. Nevertheless, the Chinese side took away the North Koreans forcibly the same day. The seven North Koreans escaped the North of their own will and said they wanted to go to the South, while our government said it would take them in. China’s action is a violation of human rights and an act disregarding our country. The seven North Koreans sent back to the North now have to face severe punishment. China has put them in danger.
The Chinese explained their actions by claiming that the North Koreans are illegal border crossers that have violated domestic as well as international laws. That deliberately overlooks the international accord to give priority to the lives of refugees.
The international community and Korea should not stand idly by in the face of such continuing violation of human rights by China. They should voice their strong criticism. In addition, they should also ask China to guarantee the safety of the North Korean refugees they deported and make sure they are not the subject of human rights violations. We also must receive a pledge from China that similar actions will not happen again.
Our Foreign Ministry is also not free from the criticism that it failed to protect them. The Foreign Ministry should closely examine the incident and seek out those responsible. It needs to devise special measures that can prevent similar occurences.