Monday, August 07, 2006

China allows North Korean refugees to flee to U.S.

In a sign of newfound strains with North Korea, China has quietly allowed three North Korean refugees who had been holed up at a U.S. consulate in its northeast region to travel to the United States.

China never before has permitted North Korean refugees to depart directly for safety in the United States, returning them instead to imprisonment in their homeland.

The move underscored frictions between North Korea and China, its only major ally, after Pyongyang's launch July 4 of at least seven ballistic missiles that rattled East Asia. Of the four North Koreans protected in the U.S. consulate in Shenyang, three chose to leave for the United States on July 22 and one opted to travel to South Korea.

[Monterey Herald]

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