News / Asia

N. Korea Accuses South of 'Kidnapping' 9 Youths

An unidentified North Korean defector holds a picture of nine apparent North Korean defectors who were flown home as she cries during a rally protesting against Laos' repatriation of them, in Seoul, South Korea, June 5, 2013.
An unidentified North Korean defector holds a picture of nine apparent North Korean defectors who were flown home as she cries during a rally protesting against Laos' repatriation of them, in Seoul, South Korea, June 5, 2013.
VOA News
North Korea has accused the South of trying to kidnap nine North Korean youths who were detained in Laos last month before being repatriated to their homeland.

In a statement carried by the North's official news agency on Wednesday, a North Korean Red Cross official said South Korean agents tricked the North Koreans into leaving the country.

The official said the South Koreans beat and brainwashed the youths, forcing them to read Christian literature while transporting them through China to Laos. The North Korean statement accused Seoul of carrying out an unprecedented crime.

Laotian authorities detained the nine North Koreans on May 10 for alleged illegal entry into Laos. They also detained two South Koreans accompanying the youths on suspicion of illegal human trafficking.

Seoul denied the trafficking charge and said the two South Koreans were trying to help the youths defect to South Korea through Laos. The South Korean government also accused North Korea of sending agents to Laos to force the nine North Koreans to return home through China.

The Chinese government said the youths entered China from Laos with valid documents on May 27 and returned to North Korea a day later, suggesting their passage through Chinese territory was voluntary.

The U.N. rights agency expressed concern about the fate of the nine North Koreans on Friday, saying their return to North Korea puts them at risk of severe punishment for attempting to defect. It criticized both Laos and China for allowing the youths to be repatriated.

South Korean rights activist Ahn Kyung-su told the Associated Press that he met the North Koreans in April while they were being sheltered by a South Korean missionary in the northeastern Chinese city of Dandong, near the North Korean border.

Ahn said the youths appeared to be orphans who were scavenging for food along the border when the missionary offered them shelter in China.

At least 20,000 North Koreans have defected to the South since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

Many of them escaped the North with the help of South Korean rights groups, secretly entering neighboring China before traveling to Southeast Asian nations to seek permanent resettlement in South Korea. North Korean defectors caught by Chinese authorities frequently have been sent home under an agreement between the two allies.

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Comments
     
by: Steve from: Michigan
June 06, 2013 5:34 AM
Why does N. Korea always never see the truth when they have a black-eye in world views of themselves. China doesn't have honor either. If the nine orphans had papers sent from Laos to China, why did they have to sneak to Laos if they had paper to enter China from N. Korea going to Laos? These are all lies and there no more honor by the Chinese and there has never been any honor from the North. Do what you will but we know that all will do nothing but get those nine orphans terribly brutalized. N.K. agents were sent with papers and the Chinese allowed the transport through China when there's no flight to Pyongyang from Laos.

It's not hard to figure out and China is warning the U.N. of making unprecedented comments. Both nations are sick thinking and if I was the free world, I would put sanctions on China too. The Chinese likes the North between them and S. Korea because of economic stale-mate. The world is going mad and we as a nation needs to quit helping them all. The U.S. should stay out of the world business of nations because the world is fighting all over the place. I just ry to live a quiet life and that's it. People and their religion are sick and if that's what they want, let them have it and stay out of the U.S. with your religious BS. Stay out of this country or I will hunt you down if you start your homeland problems here. Psycho's go home!

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