Sunday, August 03, 2008

More North Korean Refugees Seek Asylum in U.S.

North Korean refugees are seeking asylum in the U.S. through more diverse routes, including Southeast Asia, Russia and even Eastern Europe.

Radio Free Asia reported that five North Korean refugees who came to the Czech Republic recently are expected to arrive in the U.S. as early as this week. The five, including a married couple, are currently being screened at the U.S. Embassy in Prague.

They had been under protection of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Beijing until last week. After the Czech government granted them temporary stay in Czech Republic, they arrived in Prague last Sunday.

RFA said that it was the first time for the Czech government to grant North Korean refugees in China temporary stay before they seek asylum in a third country. The station predicted that more North Korean refugees will likely seek asylum in the U.S. through such a route.

On July 22, the U.S. allowed Han Dong-man, a former North Korean logger in Siberia, to enter the country. He had been protected by UNHCR in Moscow since October last year, and was finally granted asylum by the U.S. after diplomatic negotiations between the U.S. and Russia.

[The Chosun Ilbo]

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