China Casts More Doubt on Seoul's Defector Claims

      June 04, 2013 09:51

      Beijing received no requests from other countries to intervene and prevent the repatriation of nine North Korean defectors from Laos, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday.

      "China hasn't received any requests by parties concerned to assist in the repatriation of these people," Hong Lei said in a daily briefing.

      The statement casts further doubt on Seoul’s conflicting claims that on the one hand it did everything it could to prevent the repatriation of the nine young defectors and was on the other "trying to track them down" on the day they were being taken to North Korea through China.

      The nine, who are between 15 and 23 years old, face detention in concentration camps or execution in North Korea.

      "As verified by the Chinese side, the nine people entered China on May 27 and left China for [North] Korea on May 28 holding legal and valid documents and visas," Hong said.

      The South Korean Embassy in Beijing claims it took all possible steps to urge Chinese authorities to prevent their repatriation during the two days when they passed through the Chinese airports of Kunming and Beijing.

      An embassy official claimed that by "parties concerned" the Chinese spokesman was not referring to Seoul.

      "After checking with the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Hong's comments signified that there were no requests from the Lao or North Korean governments for cooperation," the official added.

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