March 27, 2012 09:49
North Korean defectors hiding out the South Korean Consulate in Beijing will soon be able to come here, a diplomatic source in Seoul said Monday. The source said after a meeting between Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Lee Myung-bak the chances are good that China will let the North Korean defectors who have been hiding out at the consulate for almost three years go.
The source added they should be able to discreetly board a flight to South Korea at the end of this month or early next month.
Hu during the summit with Lee at Cheong Wa Dae on Monday said China "is taking a lot of interest and giving consideration to the issue of North Korean defectors and respects [South Korea's] the position. It will strive to ensure that the issue is resolved smoothly." That appears to confirm hopes that Beijing will allow the defectors hiding out in South Korean missions in China to come to South Korea.
A senior Cheong Wa Dae official said, "The summit will pave the way" for these defectors "to go quietly to South Korea." Around a dozen North Koreans are hiding out in nine South Korean missions in China.
Meanwhile, Lee and Hu also agreed to start bilateral talks on the boundaries of their respective exclusive economic zones, which could resolve the contentious question which side controls the submerged rock outcropping of Ieo Island.
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