News

    North Korean Refugees Enter Japanese School in Beijing

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Seven people believed to be North Koreans have entered a Japanese school in Beijing seeking refuge. The incident comes as Japanese relations with both North Korea and China are worsening.

    Japanese Embassy spokesman Keiji Ide says security cameras at the school alerted embassy personnel to the break-in just before 4:00 a.m. Friday local time. "It seems to us they are from North Korea," he stated. "We decided to bring them to the embassy building. Six of them are adults and one is a small child, two men and four women."

    Mr. Ide says there are now 16 North Koreans taking refuge in the Japanese compound.

    In the past two years, scores of North Koreans have rushed diplomatic compounds in Beijing and other Chinese cities, hoping for asylum and transit to another country - usually South Korea. There are reportedly tens of thousands more North Koreans hiding throughout China, fleeing hunger and political repression in their communist homeland.

    Beijing, North Korea's closest ally, refuses to grant the Koreans refugee status, and has objected to international support for those within its borders.

    Friday's asylum bid may strain Japan's already frayed relations with both China and North Korea.

    Tokyo is engaged in a heated dispute with Pyongyang over North Korea's program of kidnapping Japanese during the Cold War. The North Koreans say eight of the 13 Japanese they admit to abducting have since died. Pyongyang has handed over human remains it said belonged to two of the abductees, but last week Tokyo said forensic analysis had revealed that the remains belonged to other people.

    The Japanese government is now under mounting public pressure to impose economic sanctions on Pyongyang. Pyongyang has replied by saying this would amount to a declaration of war.

    And at the same time, Tokyo's relations with Beijing have been tested by a series of disputes over maritime borders, and the issuance of a visitor's visa to a former Taiwanese president.

    Shiela Smith, a political analyst with the East-West Center in Hawaii, says the diplomatic tensions reflect Japanese unease with China's growing regional influence. "The Japanese are beginning to think through the rise of Chinese power, the implicit contention between Japan and China over the leadership role in the Asia-Pacific," she said.

    Last week Japan said it would start to treat China, along with North Korea, as a potential national security threat, and began reorienting its military defenses accordingly.

    These disputes come as Japan and China, together with the United States, Russia and South Korea, are pressing North Korea to rejoin talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear weapons program.
    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.