Friday, October 12, 2007

S. Korea and China Scuffle Over North Korean Defectors

South Korea's Foreign Ministry office filed an official protest against the treatment of South Korean diplomats by Chinese police following a tussle during the arrest of North Korean defectors, reports the Korea Daily.

Four individuals were found hiding in the restroom of a South Korean school in Beijing, where they were seeking asylum and safe passage to South Korea.

Thirty police officers arrived on the scene, blocking officials from the South Korean embassy from approaching the defectors. At one point, the report notes, police tussled with the embassy officials, pinning the arms of two and forcing them from school grounds.

Since 2004 roughly sixty North Koreans have sought asylum in the school, which is not protected by diplomatic immunity. Still, most have been allowed to go on to South Korea by Chinese authorities, which legally term such persons as 'economic migrants.'

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