October 24, 2018 10:48
Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon meets four groups representing North Korean defectors on Wednesday to smooth ruffled feathers over the exclusion of a defector-turned-reporter from recent cross-border talks.
A Unification Ministry official told reporters Tuesday, "We offered to hold the meeting following proposals from civic groups in light of recent events."
The "recent events" refer to Cho's decision to bump the Chosun Ilbo reporter off the press pool covering the talks at the last minute earlier this month.
The move was widely condemned by defectors and international press bodies as discriminatory and infringing press freedom.
The ministry did not say which defectors' representatives will be attending the meeting and decided to hold it behind closed doors. This has raised suspicions that the ministry selected only groups that support the Moon Jae-in administration's North Korea policies.
Park Sang-hak of defector group Fighters for Free North Korea said, "The Unification Ministry did not invite a single defectors' group that protested against the reporter's exclusion and called for his resignation. The majority of defectors are being ignored, and only a small group has been invited. This will not quell our anger."
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