Monday, February 27, 2006

North Korean life is a hellish nightmare

“While [Kim Jong Il] lives like royalty in Pyongyang, he keeps hundreds of thousands of his people locked in prison camps with millions more mired in abject poverty, scrounging the ground for food. For many in North Korea, life is a hellish nightmare. As reported by the State Department Report on Human Rights, we believe that some 400,000 persons died in prison since 1972 and that starvation and executions were common. Entire families, including children, were imprisoned when only one member of the family was accused of a crime.”

-- U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A starving North Korean refugee in China

One reads a lot of reports about starving North Koreans.

How do you picture “starving’?

This woman, who had defected to China fleeing the mass starvation in North Korea, was captured by the Chinese police the day after this picture was taken.

She was later repatriated to North Korea.

She is known to have died soon afterward in a North Korean prison.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Pitiful state of North Korean children

According to Marcus Noland’s best estimates,
37% of North Korean children under six are stunted,
23% were underweight, and
7% were "wasting" meaning they were acutely malnourished.

Because these estimates include better-fed areas such as the capital Pyongyang, these rates are likely to be much higher in the hungriest areas of North Korea's northeast.

Marcus Noland is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Economics

Friday, February 24, 2006

North Korean Prisoners Eat Pig Slops to Avoid Starvation

From an account by Ahn Hyok, Former Detention Settlement Prisoner

Pigs are raised in the detention settlement for security officers to celebrate the Great Leaders’ birthdays. The pigs are raised with rich slops. This was a clear case of animals being fed better than human beings.

If we were fortunate enough to have no guards around, we would sneak into pigsties to steal pigs’ slops. We always carried an empty can with us to scoop out slops from the troughs. Thus, the troughs were cleaned in a mater of seconds. When we were lucky, we drank directly from the troughs. It was a very rare occasion when we felt our stomachs full.

Sometimes, we were discovered by security officers and beaten terribly. One these occasions, we would be beaten until we released more feces than the slops we ate, and then sent to hard labor sites.

Once, we were cautioned by security officers that there was dung mixed in the slops. This did not stop us from stealing slops. When a sow was about to deliver piglets, the security officers made such a fuss and gave it rich slops including rice. What a contrast when they try hard to prevent delivery if a woman prisoner is pregnant.

Once, a calf was born at the cow farms. The prisoners killed, boiled and devoured it. The prisoners were badly beaten and sent to a permanent detention settlement with their families.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

North Korean Refugees to be Accepted to USA

It was reported by the South Korean newspaper, Chosun-ilbo, that Jay Lefkowitz, the American North Korea Special Envoy, said in an unofficial talk held with North Korean human rights organizations, “The North Korean refugees is a problem of credibility for the American government.”

In the talk held in Freedom House, a Washington-based international human rights organization, Lefkowitz suggested three goals of this year; bring out the North Korean human rights problem, active response towards the North Korean refugee problem, and urge North Korea to pursue liberalization.

The participants of the talks said, “Taking into consideration the criticisms received for taking a passive position towards providing refuge to the North Korean refugees, the US will soon start to accept North Korean refugees located in countries other than South Korea into the US. The maximum number of refugees accepted may exceed 100 this year.”

Meanwhile, despite the fact that the US North Korean Human Rights Act was enacted in October 2004, the US has not to date accepted any North Korean refugees due to identity verification issues of the defectors and opposition from local countries.

[By Yang Jung A, The Daily NK]

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Europe Granted Asylum to 280 NK Refugees

Seven European nations have welcomed a total of almost 300 North Korean defectors since late 1990s, a U.S. broadcaster reported.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) said countries such as Germany, Britain and Denmark have issued asylum status to 280 defectors from North Korea in the past 10 years.

Germany topped the list with a total of 232 since 1995, while Britain has offered asylum to 25 defectors since 1996.

Next came Denmark with seven, followed by the Netherlands with six, Sweden with five and Norway with two.

[The Korea Times]

Monday, February 20, 2006

North Korea threatens to call off talks with South

North Korea threatened to halt talks with Seoul unless it pulls out of joint U.S.-South Korean military drills. The talks are aimed at reducing tensions between the two armies that face each other across the heavily fortified border, known as the Demilitarized Zone.

The United States has about 30,000 troops in South Korea working with about 690,000 South Korean troops.

North Korea has most of its million-strong military positioned near the Demilitarized Zone.

The two Koreas are technically still at war because the 1950-1953 Korean War ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.

South Korea is also part of separate six-country talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons programs. Those talks have hit a snag over a U.S. crackdown on firms it suspects of helping North Korea in illicit activities such as counterfeiting.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

‘Typhoon’ Tells Story of North Korean Defector

A North Korean refugee boy, rejected by South Korea for asylum, narrowly escapes North Korean guards, who kill his parents. He grows up to become a pirate on a vengeful mission: drenching the Korean peninsula in a nuclear rainstorm.

The South Korean action film "Typhoon" strikes many viewers as implausible, but North Koreans who risked their lives escaping the communist regime know better.

"I think it's the first movie that accurately depicts the reality of North Korea," said Kang Chol Hwan, who met President Bush last year to discuss his memoir of growing up in a prison camp. "This is the true story of us. I cried throughout the movie."

"Typhoon" tells the story of Choi Myung Sin and his family, who flee to China and seek refuge in South Korea after breaking into the Austrian embassy in Beijing. Fearing a diplomatic conflict with China, South Korea rejects their asylum bid and secretly repatriates them to the North. During yet another escape attempt, Choi's parents are shot dead by North Korean guards. Choi and his older sister manage to run away, but their life in hiding means scavenging for food and the sister gets raped by a Chinese farmer while trying to steal a few dumplings for Choi.

The reality for North Koreans trying to flee the totalitarian regime is "far more tragic and tearful," said Kang, who was sent to a North Korean prison along with his family at age 9 because his grandfather was accused of anti-government activity.

[From Associated Press article by Bo-Mi Lim]

Saturday, February 18, 2006

‘Typhoon’ to hit North America

Thousands of North Koreans are said to be living in hiding in China, which is obliged to send them back under a bilateral treaty. Activists say China repatriates up to 400 defectors every week to North Korea where they can face harsh punishment.

"North Korean women, in particular, are in extreme peril in terms of being snared by human traffickers either to be sold into marriage to a Chinese person or to be pulled into the sex trade," said Tim Peters, founder and director of Helping Hands Korea, a Christian charity group supporting North Korean refugees.

Activists estimate more than 70 percent of North Korean women who try to defect become victims of human trafficking in China, while North Korean defectors say the figure is much higher, Peters said.

"Typhoon" director Kwak Kyung-taek, whose father fled the North during the Korean War, said he was trying to portray the "kind of hostility the North Koreans would harbor against South Korea" when they were sent back to their communist homeland.

So far "Typhoon" is only showing in Asia but the makers hope to distribute the film in the United States and Canada later this year.

[From Associated Press article by Bo-Mi Lim]

Friday, February 17, 2006

North Korean defectors aren’t greeted with flowers

Every year, hundreds of North Koreans fleeing hunger, poverty and oppression cross the border into China, hoping to continue on to South Korea. Beijing sees them as illegal economic migrants subject to repatriation. North Korean law mandates a minimum two-year prison sentence for those who leave.

The issue has put South Korea and China at loggerheads; meanwhile, defectors and activists contend that humanitarian issues get short shrift.

"When I came to China, I learned that people in North Korea eat worse than a pig in China," said a 34-year-old North Korean woman who revealed only her surname, Moon.

Refugees do make it to South Korea, although scenes of North Koreans being greeted with flowers don't always ensue.

A 24-year-old defector living in South Korea said escaping from China was somewhat easier than dealing with confrontational South Korean Embassy and National Intelligence Service (NIS) officials. She lived in China for several years before a failed escape attempt through Burma. Eventually, she left China and in 2002 went to the South Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"We went in and sat down, and my wife just said: 'I'm a North Korean. I want to defect,'" said her American husband, who was with her at the time. "She apparently had been the first one there. They didn't know what to do."

After several frustrating days, South Korean authorities allowed them to fly to Seoul, the couple said. But when they arrived, NIS agents boarded the plane, cursing and roughing them up. "They were just totally anti-defector," said the American, who speaks fluent Korean. "It's always been that way."

Activists have tried many novel ways to get refugees out of China, from high-profile dashes using ladders to climb into embassy compounds in Beijing to desert drives to the Mongolian border to risky land routes through Burma, Thailand and Vietnam.

"New routes are being looked for all the time," said Tim Peters, the founder of Helping Hands Korea, a group that raises funds for clandestine operations to move refugees out of China. "Old routes get discovered and get shut down."

[Excerpt of an article by Jeremy Kirk, The Washington Times]

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Christianity is North Korea’s biggest fear

International fears over North Korea have centered recently on its nuclear arms capabilities, but Christian observers say the issue masks what should be another global concern--the communist nation's treatment of its own citizens, especially Christians.

Not only are millions of North Korea's citizens starving, approximately 200,000 men, women and children accused of political crimes are languishing in prison in the far northeast region. Anyone caught criticizing President Kim Jong Il is arrested and subjected to hard labor, torture, starvation, biochemical experimentation or mass execution.

Dr. Norbert Vollertsen, a German physician, traveled into the secret places of North Korea taking video and still images of the starved and dying. "Kim Jong Il does not allow any god besides him," he told Charisma. "The Christians in North Korea are eliminated--executed. Christianity is their main enemy because they know about the power of Christianity."

Tim Peters, an American missionary and founder of Helping Hands Korea has lived in South Korea for 15 years. His ministry sends food into North Korea through proven smugglers who assist the most needy. Besides its normal monthly shipments, the ministry delivered 19 tons of baby food to a northeastern province.

[From an article by Hope Flinchbaugh, Charisma Magazine]

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ridiculous abduction charge by North Korea irk NGOs

Members of nongovernmental organizations trying to help North Koreans who have fled their impoverished country find safe haven lashed out over Pyongyang's claim that they were kidnapping its people. During bilateral talks in Beijing that ended Wednesday, North Korea demanded that Japan hand over seven NGO members it reckoned were "abducting" its escapees.

Those sought include Lee Young Hwa, leader of Rescue the North Korean People! Urgent Action Network (RENK), and Hiroshi Kato, a senior member of Life Funds for North Korean Refugees.

"What we are doing is far from abducting," Kato told The Japan Times on Thursday. "I am displeased to be referred to as a perpetrator of such an act."

Kato stressed that his group helps North Koreans who flee to China to escape starvation in the reclusive state. The group provides food and shelter to the refugees, cares for the children they bring with them and even provides food to North Korea, he said.

"North Koreans flee their country because the North Korean government cannot feed them enough food," Kato said. "The North Korean side is just trying (to use the NGO issue) to get the upper hand in negotiations with Japan."

[Excerpted from an article by Kanako Takahara, The Japan Times]

Monday, February 13, 2006

Refugees in China Get a Helping Hand

What is it that makes a person reach out to someone they've never met before to lend a helping hand? What is it that makes a person aid others despite the presence of peril?

There are, of course, a number of answers - charity, goodwill, common humanity to name a few - and it's a combination of these mixed with a sense of brotherhood that is leading groups of mostly South Koreans to northeastern China to help North Korean refugees.

While it may be a Korean issue for the most part, there are others involved. One of them is Tim Peters, an American missionary playing a key role in getting the word out about what is going on and getting aid and support to those that need it most.

Peters has been involved with helping North Korean refugees since 1998 through Helping Hands Korea, a Christian mission he founded.

[Excerpt of article by Andrew Carroll, Korea Times]

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Helping Hands Korea

Tim Peters’ first contact with North Korea came in 1996 when news of the famine north of the border led him to start up a project called the Ton-a-Month Club, which, as the name implies, involved collecting enough donations to buy at least a ton of grain to be sent to the North every month.

As he explains it, the transportation channels at the time were very limited and in 1998 Peters headed to the Chinese border area to see if there was a more effective way to get the aid to North Korea.

Photo: A dugout hole discovered by Chinese authorities, which was home to North Korean refugees in China.

During these fact-finding trips he came face-to-face with the grim reality of the plight of North Korean refugees hiding out in China. It changed his life and the direction of his work.

“The more vital and shocking lesson was that there were North Koreans that we could help right at our feet and that was the refugees, children who were begging in the streets of Changchun, Shenyang and Yanji,'' Peters said. “It occurred to me that here are North Koreans who are desperately in need. They're terribly fearful that the Chinese security people are going to pick them up at any point.''

From that point on the focus of Helping Hands Korea was firmly placed on refugees. While the Ton-a-Month Club continues, Peters says the greater amount of his efforts is spent helping the underground railroad for getting North Koreans out of China.

[Excerpt of article by Andrew Carroll, Korea Times]

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Underground Railroad helps North Koreans out of China

Like its namesake, there are people on the ground putting their lives on the line to help refugees. But these are not the only people involved, as the Underground Railroad also requires financial support to help shelter the refugees and get them out of the country. This is where Tim Peters of Helping Hands Korea steps in.

''I'm more of a coordinator trying to match resources with the field people who are the real heroes in this endeavor,'' Peters explains.

Photo: Liberty aborted: A North Korean asylum seeker is wrestled to the ground at the Japanese Consulate in China, while her infant child cries.

The funds and resources Peters raises allow the activists working in China to continue their work and improve the conditions for the North Koreans looking to get out despite the lack of support from governments, including that of South Korea.

[Excerpt of article by Andrew Carroll, Korea Times]

Friday, February 10, 2006

Refugees, Not Economic Migrants

Even after escaping from their country, North Korean refugees are in a very precarious situation. The Chinese government does not recognize them as refugees but instead refers to them as economic migrants thus denying them the right to asylum and the protections guaranteed under the United Nations’ Refugee Convention, which China has signed.

Few agree with China’s interpretation of the issue. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers said that North Koreans hiding in China, estimated to be as many as 300,000, were likely refugees by formal definition and said their plight was “a serious concern.”

Still, the rounding up of North Koreans goes on and, under an agreement between the two countries, they are repatriated, where they face various punishments including internment in a prison camp and torture.

The situation horrifies and disgusts Tim Peters of Helping Hands Korea.

“It's a shocking reality and it's continuing and it tends to be a convenient reality for many South Koreans to forget about,” he said. “But the fact of the matter is that somebody has to remember, a group of somebodies has to remember, and continue to do what we can to help these people because running from North Korea to China is only like a half freedom. It's not even a half freedom.''

[Excerpt of article by Andrew Carroll, Korea Times

Photo: Refugees rejoicing after finding refuge at Spanish Embassy

Thursday, February 09, 2006

North Korea Worse Than 1984

In North Korea, every person is property and is owned by a small and mad family with hereditary power. Every minute of every day, as far as regimentation can assure the fact, is spent in absolute subjection and serfdom. The private life has been entirely abolished.

One tries to avoid cliché, and I did my best on a visit to this terrifying country in the year 2000, but George Orwell's 1984 was published at about the time that Kim Il Sung set up his system, and it really is as if he got hold of an early copy of the novel and used it as a blueprint. ("Hmmm … good book. Let's see if we can make it work.")

Actually, North Korea is rather worse than Orwell's dystopia. There would be no way, in the capital city of Pyongyang, to wander off and get lost in the slums, let alone to rent an off-the-record love nest in a room over a shop. Everybody in the city has to be at home and in bed by curfew time, when all the lights go off (if they haven't already failed).

A recent nighttime photograph of the Korean peninsula from outer space shows something that no "free-world" propaganda could invent: a blaze of electric light all over the southern half, stopping exactly at the demilitarized zone and becoming an area of darkness in the north.

[From an article by Christopher Hitchens, Slate]

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Worse Than 1984

The situation in North Korea is actually slightly worse than indentured servitude. The slave owner historically promises, in effect, at least to keep his slaves fed. In North Korea, this compact has been broken. It is a famine state as well as a slave state.

Partly because of the end of favorable trade relations with, and subsidies from, the former USSR, but mainly because of the lunacy of its command economy, North Korea broke down in the 1990s and lost an unguessable number of people to sheer starvation. The survivors, especially the children, have been stunted and malformed. Even on a tightly controlled tour of the place, my robotic guides couldn't prevent me from seeing people drinking from sewers and picking up individual grains of food from barren fields.

In consequence of this, and for the first time since the founding of Kim Il Sung's state, large numbers of people have begun to take the appalling risk of running away. If they make it, they make it across the river into China, where there is a Korean-speaking area in the remote adjoining province. There they live under the constant threat of being forcibly repatriated.

The fate of the fugitive slave is not pretty: North Korea does indeed operate a system of camps, most memorably described in a book—The Aquariums of Pyongyang, by Kang Chol-Hwan—that ought to be much more famous than it is. Given what everyday life in North Korea is like, I don't have sufficient imagination to guess what life in its prison system must be, but this book gives one a hint.

[From an article by Christopher Hitchens, Slate]

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Korean American Students Urged to Take Action

Students, and professors gathered to see devastating footage displaying the tragic lives of North Korean Children suffering from starvation and abuse, at an event hosted by Liberty in North Korea (LINK) Los Angeles Chapter. LINK, which was founded on March 27, 2004 at the Eighteenth Annual Korean American Students Conference at Yale University, has over 70 chapters in U.S colleges and cities.

“Our mission is first to educate the public on what is happening in North Korea such as human rights violations, and second to take action, getting people to take action with what they’ve learned,” said Candice Hyon, 20, LINK coordinator for UCLA. “This is our second movie screening at UCLA and watching these films really opens people’s eyes to what is happening in North Korea.”

The shocking documentary lasting 45mintues revealed horrifying levels of starvation in North Korea, particularly among its children who were starving to death while food sent from U.S and Red Cross were sold to others in the market.

According to the ‘Children of the Secret State,’ out of 23 million North Koreans, 200,000 children are orphans and homeless, foraging for food in the mud and gutters. They are ignored by the adults, and the state which claims it cares for them.

Footage also portrayed scenes of human rights violations by North Korean soldiers where prisoners and children were brutally stoned to death while women were constantly raped, and those who were pregnant stabbed and murdered with their stomachs split open.

[Excerpt of article by Samuel Kim,]

Monday, February 06, 2006

North Korean Refugee Advocates Roughed Up

China's security officers, in a brazen display of intolerance toward human rights, forcefully disrupted a Beijing press conference. Organizers of the press conference had hoped to bring fresh attention to the unsolved disappearance of a South Korean pastor abducted by North Koreans five years ago. They hoped to draw new attention to the fate of about 300,000 North Korean refugees inside China. They are urging China to "show compassion" to those North Koreans who manage to escape the repressive communist regime of Kim Jong-Il.

Witnesses say shortly before the press conference was to begin at the Beijing Great Wall Sheraton Hotel conference room, several plain-clothed Chinese state security agents, who refused to identify themselves, ordered the meeting to be stopped.

When Rep. Kim began to speak, the agents shut off his microphone and the cut the room's electricity. Chaos ensued as some 40 journalists were shoved out of the room in the dark, and a legislative aide to Rep. Kim was dragged out of the room, according to one eyewitness.

The press conference was going to highlight a four-day fact-finding mission into the disappearance of South Korean pastor Kim Dong-shik, who North Korean agents abducted five years ago for trying to help North Korean refugees in Yanji, a town in China's Jilin Province near the North Korean border.

A visit was also planned with Choi Young-hoon, a Christian Korean businessman currently serving a five-year sentence in Weifang City Prison for his efforts to help North Korean defectors hiding in China.

[Excerpt from an article by Sheryl Henderson Blunt, Christianity Today]

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Seoul Court sentences man helping North Korean agents

A South Korean court has sentenced a man to prison for helping North Korean agents kidnap a South Korean Christian pastor in China. The case sheds light on what Christian groups say is a serious danger posed by North Korean operatives in China, and those trying to help them.

The court in Seoul convicted 35-year-old Ryu Young-hwa of helping North Korean agents abduct South Korean Christian pastor Kim Dong-shik. Reverend Kim disappeared in northern China in 2000 while helping North Koreans who had fled their country.

Ryu, a Chinese citizen of Korean ancestry, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Christian activists in Seoul think Reverend Kim died in North Korean custody. They view him as a symbol of the risks associated with helping North Koreans make the dangerous journey to South Korea through China via what has come to be known as the Christian underground railroad.

[From an article by Kurt Achin, VoA]

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Seoul Court - North Korean agent (2)

North Koreans flee to China because of severe food shortages and repression at home. But China classifies the North Koreans as economic migrants, not refugees, and has an agreement with Pyongyang to send them back home, where they face harsh punishment or death.

Kim Bum-su works for the Christian-affiliated Commission to Help North Korean refugees. He says helping North Koreans in China is an extremely dangerous undertaking.

"One of the most risky things to work in China is fear, not of Chinese authorities, but of North Korean [agents]," said Kim Bum-su.

Mr. Kim says many North Korean agents are active in China and that some ethnic Koreans in China cooperate with the agents to make money.

He says even among refugees in China, there is a high degree of suspicion.

"Some of them are North Korean agents themselves," he said. "They pretend to be refugees in order to infiltrate into the community."

[From an article by Kurt Achin, VoA]

Seoul Court - North Korean agent (3)

Tim Peters is a Christian activist with frequent contacts with missionaries operating in China.

"They are continually concerned for their own security, and we in turn have to respect that and gauge our activities accordingly," he said.

He calls the capture and conviction of Ryu Young-hwa in South Korea a "fluke." He says Ryu was only caught because a North Korean refugee in Seoul happened to recognize him.

"I do not think that it is the result of a strong and consistent commitment by the authorities in the South to find these people," he said. "I think it was handed to them on a silver platter."

[From an article by Kurt Achin, VoA]

Friday, February 03, 2006

North Korean Defectors' Winding Trail to Europe

Six North Korean defectors have now been accepted as refugees by the Belgian government, and an unknown number is believed to have reached France, after a marathon journey spanning several years and tens of thousands of miles.

“It was hard to survive in North Korea,” a 22-year-old defector surnamed Kim, who arrived in February 2005, told RFA. “My father passed away, leaving me no relatives. So I was afraid I would die.”

“My father’s sister was living in China...She arranged my escape and paid for me. My aunt encouraged me to go to a Western country, so I came to Belgium,” he said.

Like most defectors, Kim’s first port-of-call after leaving his homeland was China, where South Korean missionaries and clandestine networks combine to take North Koreans on a dangerous “underground railroad”-style journey to a third, fourth, or even fifth country.

Some pass through Vietnam and Thailand on their way to South Korea, while others spend time in Mongolia awaiting resettlement, according to interviews with missionaries working with North Koreans throughout Northeast and Southeast Asia, and with successful defectors in South Korea.

[Radio Free Asia]

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Refugee Applicants asked to sing revolutionary songs

North Korean defector Kim said he had no particular plan to come to Belgium but joined a human-smuggling group that was going there.

Belgium-based interpreter Won Yong-soe said rumors were current among the thousands of North Koreans currently in hiding in China that Belgium was a favored new destination for those seeking resettlement in a third country.

On arriving in Belgium, applicants for political asylum are taken to a reception center for about a month, before undergoing screening interviews for refugee status. Several months later, those who pass the initial screening process are given permanent residency, renewable annually with the authorities.

Among the tests they must pass include a request to sing North Korean revolutionary songs, including the national anthem, and detailed questions about the education system in the isolated Stalinist state.

“The problem that the Belgian government has to solve is making a distinction between ethnic Koreans from China and North Koreans. In the past many ethnic Koreans pretended to be North Koreans,” Won said.

The Belgian government then provides unemployed North Korean defectors with €625 ($760) a month in subsistence payments: exactly the same amount received by unemployed Belgians.

[Radio Free Asia]

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

North Korean Refugees in France

Activists believe North Korean asylum-seekers may be hiding in France.

“We know there are North Koreans in France,” Robert Pepin, Paris-based co-founder of the French Committee To Help the Population in North Korea, said in an interview. “But also we know that they don’t know their rights and they are afraid. It’s very difficult to figure out where they are.”

“Most probably they were kidnapped by Chinese people and exported to Europe,” said Pepin, who launched his organization with Pierre Rigoulot, co-author of Kang Chol-Hwan’s 2001 North Korean gulag memoir Aquariums of Pyongyang.

The group was currently helping a North Korean man prepare his application for political asylum in France, Pepin said.

“France I don’t think has ever accepted political refugees from North Korea”, he said, adding: “I don’t think there would be any problem if any North Korean refugees would ask for political asylum.”

[Radio Free Asia]