Obama to Push Xi Over N.Korean Defectors

      June 03, 2013 09:29

      U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to discuss with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping the high-profile extraction of nine young North Korean refugees from Laos via China, the Global Post reported. Obama and Xi meet in California on Friday and Saturday.

      The repatriation of the youngsters, who are between 15 and 23 years old, made worldwide headlines. Washington is expected to urge Beijing to protect refugees from North Korea.

      South Korea has asked both the U.S. and China to help ensure the safety of the nine and prevent similar incidents.

      In an open letter to Xi last Friday, House Committee on Foreign Affairs chairman Ed Royce protested against the repatriation of North Koreans who flee the repressive regime.

      Royce asked China to join international cooperation in addressing the defector issue just as Washington and Beijing joined hands to find a solution to the North Korean nuclear problem.

      Amnesty International, the world's largest human rights organization, said Friday the nine face arbitrary internment, torture, disappearance, forced labor or death. It urged Pyongyang to reveal what has happened to them.

      The Inter-Parliamentary Union on Sunday slammed Laos for handing the defectors over to North Korean agents.

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