Saturday, June 04, 2011

North Korean defectors to visit US

Yonhap - A group of five North Korean defectors currently enrolled in South Korean colleges will visit the United States on a U.S. government-sponsored program. The five North Koreans will likely head for the United States next month, according to the official from Seoul's Unification Ministry.

"The U.S. Embassy in South Korea and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology selected the five students in April for the West program," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Under the student exchange program, South Korean students can visit the United States for up to 18 months -- five months of mandatory language programs plus internships up to one year long at U.S. companies, followed by one month reserved for travel. Thousands of students have visited or are visiting the United States under the program since its launch in early 2009, but no one originating from North Korea had been offered the chance until now.

"The ministry will consider extending the program to more North Korean defectors," a ministry official said, adding there are currently about 850 college students here who defected from North Korea.

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