Sunday, July 02, 2006

Homeland Security wary of North Korean refugees

More than a dozen North Koreans have entered American diplomatic missions in Russia and Thailand. According to a source familiar with the North Korean refugee issue, … some are reportedly demanding to be taken to the U.S., while others have said they would like to come to South Korea.

Four of the North Koreans currently in the U.S. Consulate in Shenyang China had earlier gone to the South Korean consulate in September of last year. They reportedly changed their minds when they learned through television about the official U.S. policy of accepting North Korean refugees.

It is said that unless there are special grounds for rejecting a defection request, once North Koreans are inside a U.S. diplomatic embassy, the State Department there wants to accept them. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, however, is reportedly uncomfortable with the idea, citing reasons of security.

The U.S. government has reportedly decided to accept three of the four defectors who entered the U.S. consulate in Shenyang the middle of last year. The fourth individual worked for state security in North Korea, and as such was not granted asylum.

[Hankyoreh Media Company]

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