New Pact Could Protect N.Korean Defectors in China

      December 24, 2014 11:13

      Seoul and Beijing agreed during a summit in July that China will give notice if anyone claiming to be a South Korean is arrested or jailed in China. The notice should contain detailed information including the person's identity, charges, and whereabouts and be given within four days of arrest.

      The consular agreement was kept under wraps while it was being tweaked into shape but has now been submitted to the National Assembly.

      The pact allows a South Korean consular official to meet South Korean citizens who are arrested or jailed in China within four days of a request. Also, Chinese authorities are required to immediately convey any messages detained South Koreans wish to deliver to the consulate and must inform them of this right.

      The same procedures apply to Chinese citizens who are arrested or jailed in South Korea.

      Some politicians point out that North Korean defectors could take advantage of the pact since they are by law automatically South Korean citizens.

      The consular agreement also requires South Korea to inform China before maritime police board and investigate illegal Chinese fishing vessels. However, in emergency crackdowns, Seoul can inform Beijing after a raid.

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