Friday, June 17, 2011

North Korea demands the return of latest defectors

North Korea has demanded the return of nine of its citizens who defected by boat and warned that cross-border relations would suffer otherwise, Seoul officials said.

The North's Red Cross sent a message to its South Korean counterpart to demand the return of the nine immediately. Failure to do so could further damage relations, the message added.

The latest incident comes at a time of high cross-border tensions, after the North announced it was breaking all contacts with the South's government. However, one analyst said he did not believe the latest defection would seriously aggravate the situation.

"The North cannot help but demand their return, as usual, but it will have to swallow (the situation) as the nine came to the South of their free will," said Kim Yong-Hyun, of Seoul's Dongguk University.

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