Daily NK: Aren’t there efforts in place to prevent the forced repatriation of the defectors back to North Korea?
Tim Peters: The problem is the South Korean government, who does not intervene when South Korean nationals are arrested by the Chinese government for assisting the North Korean detectors. Take the cases of Choi Young Hoon arrested in 2003, or Kim Tae Hee who was imprisoned for two years, and many other South Korean missionaries and activists.
Unfortunately, the South Korean government does very little for its nationals who want to help the North Koreans in this respect. The government’s priority is to maintain economic and trade ties with China so it refuses to even bring up the human rights issues. And China uses such trade relations to further its other interests as well.
This is a very sad situation. I cannot even begin to express my disappointment about the South Korean government’s stance. The human rights issue must be prioritized. South Korea’s actions must match up to the democratic principles upon which its state is established.