In the News – S. Koreans to file suit against N. Korean leader in int’l criminal court

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In the News – S. Koreans to file suit against N. Korean leader in int’l criminal court

SEOUL, July 25 (Yonhap) — A South Korean private committee said Wednesday that it will file a lawsuit against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with the International Criminal Court in September.

The move is designed to put pressure on the communist country to repatriate the hundreds of South Korean soldiers taken prisoner and the remains of those killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, said Park Sun-young, a former lawmaker who has championed the rights of North Korean defectors and South Korean prisoners of war (POWs).

The committee, which calls for the return of the South Korean POWs, also said it plans to present a petition to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the issue in the fall, said Park, one of about 50 committee members.

“The pressure will be enormous,” Park said after a news conference in the National Assembly as she vowed to make efforts to try to bring home aging former South Korean soldiers.

South Korea estimates about 500 POWs are believed to still be alive in the North. Pyongyang denies holding any POWs and claims former South Korean soldiers voluntarily defected.

Park claimed former South Korean soldiers toil in mines in the North, citing testimonies of some of the 56 former POWs who escaped to the South after spending decades in the North.

The war ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty, leaving the two Koreas technically still at war.

She also said the committee plans to upload testimonies of former South Korean POWs to YouTube to raise international awareness of the issue.

Choi Eun-suk, a North Korea legal expert at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University, said he did not think it is impossible to pressure the North to return former South Korean soldiers. He did not elaborate.

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In the News – China allows N. Koreans to leave for Seoul: reports

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In the News – China allows N. Koreans to leave for Seoul: reports

Seoul, May 18, 2012 (AFP) – China has allowed six North Korean refugees to leave for South Korea after they spent months holed up in Seoul’s consular offices in China, news reports said Friday.

Following their departure last week there are no more North Koreans left at South Korean diplomatic missions in China, the Korea JoongAng Daily and the Seoul Shinmun Daily said.

A South Korean foreign ministry spokeswoman declined to comment.

Beijing allowed the six defectors, who had been holed up at the South Korean missions in Shenyang and Shanghai for many months, to travel to the South through a third country, the dailies said, quoting sources.

China’s decision to let the defectors leave was apparently made as a goodwill gesture before a meeting between South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak and Chinese President Hu Jintao, the Korea JoongAng Daily said.

Lee met Hu on Monday in Beijing following an annual trilateral summit with China and Japan.

The six included two relatives of a South Korean prisoner of war, captured by the North during the 1950-53 Korean War. Of the remaining four, two were identified as men and two as women, the reports said.

China last month reportedly allowed another five North Korean defectors to leave for South Korea after they were confined to Seoul’s Beijing embassy to avoid arrest. Some spent months there but others spent years.

China arrests and repatriates fugitives from North Korea, considering them to be economic migrants rather than potential refugees.

South Korea and international rights groups have urged it to change the policy, saying returnees can face harsh punishment.

Tens of thousands of North Koreans have fled poverty or repression in their homeland, almost all of them across the border to China.

Some hide out among — or marry into — the ethnic Korean community in China’s northeast. Others try to travel on to Southeast Asian nations before flying to Seoul.

 

Original article can be found here.

In the News – Family of S.Korean POW Come to Seoul

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In the News – Family of S.Korean POW Come to Seoul

Six North Korean defectors including the daughter and granddaughter of a South Korean prisoner of war arrived in Seoul last week, it was confirmed Wednesday. According to a diplomatic source here said the two women were among six defectors who had been hiding in South Korean diplomatic missions in Shenyang and Shanghai and were finally let go by the Chinese government.

The four women and two men are in relatively good health and are being questioned, the source added.

There are now no defectors left in South Korea’s diplomatic missions in China.

One defector who arrived in the South last month along with the family of another South Korean POW was a seven-year-old girl, who was reunited with relatives who had defected to the South earlier. The three-member family had been hiding in South Korea’s Embassy in Beijing for almost three years.

Beijing’s decision to send the 10 defectors to the South appears to have been affected by growing international attention on the plight of the North Koreans hiding out in China.

 

Original article can be found here.

In the News – China Lets N.Korean Teenager Go to Seoul

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In the News – China Lets N.Korean Teenager Go to Seoul

One of the North Korean defectors who arrived in South Korea from China early this month was a teenager who had been hiding at the South Korean Consulate in Shenyang. According to a diplomatic source in Seoul on Thursday, China sent him to South Korea along with the three family members of a South Korean prisoner of war who had been living in the Consulate in Beijing.

“It seems China let go the teenager who was hiding in the consulate because it’s tired of the international focus on the plight of young North Korean defectors,” the source added.

China drew international condemnation when it emerged that the 14- and 18-year-old grandchildren of the South Korean POW had been living in the Beijing consulate for as long as 34 months.

China is apparently planning to let another seven North Koreans hiding in South Korean diplomatic missions in Beijing and Shenyang travel to Seoul in the near future.

Original article can be found here.

U.S. Suspends MIA Search in North Korea

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U.S. Suspends MIA Search in North Korea

By Jim Garamone

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2012 – The United States has suspended efforts to find remains of U.S. service members lost during the Korean War due to North Korean threats to launch a ballistic missile, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here today.


Click photo for screen-resolution image

Pentagon Press Secretary George Little and Navy Capt. John Kirby, Pentagon spokesman, brief the press corps on defense-related issues at the Pentagon, March 21, 2012. DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

Recovering remains of those lost and unaccounted for is a priority to the Defense Department, and U.S. experts were due to enter North Korea this month.

“We have suspended that effort because we believe that North Korea has not acted appropriately in recent days and weeks and that it’s important for them to return to the standards of behavior that the international community has called for,” Little said at a Pentagon news conference. “We do hope at some point to be able to re-engage the effort.” Continue reading