Monday, April 17, 2006

U.S. criticizes China's repatriation of North Korean refugees

The Bush administration reasserted its "particular concern" at China's continuing repatriation of North Korean refugees and cited lack of progress on human rights in Pyongyang. In an annual report, "Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2005-2006," released through the State Department, the U.S. pressed China to allow U.N. officials access to North Korean refugees seeking refuge in its territory.

The report highlights China's refusal to help the North Korean refugees. Among other abuses, the State Department notes testimony from North Korean defectors who claimed that up through the early 1990s, Pyongyang tested a variety of chemical and biological agents on human subjects.

The day after, the White House issued a statement about China's repatriation of female North Korean refugee Kim Chun-hee, who sought asylum at a Korean international school in November. Chinese police had arrested her, and months later Beijing said she had been sent back to North Korea.

It was the first statement by the White House denouncing China's action, preceding a visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

[Excerpt of an article by Lee Dong-min, Yonhap News]

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