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At Prague summit, Rep. Ji Seong-ho urges Beijing to stop repatriating North Korean defectorsBy Kim Arin
Published : Aug. 31, 2023 - 21:56
South Korean lawmaker Rep. Ji Seong-ho attended this year’s summit of the Inter-parliamentary Alliance on China in Prague on Thursday to call on Beijing to stop forcibly deporting North Korean defectors.
While South Korea is not a member of the IPAC, Ji was invited to attend the summit to deliver a keynote speech on the situation facing North Korean defectors in China. The IPAC is composed of more than 240 lawmakers from 24 countries and aims at working on approaches to Beijing.
With North Korea opening its border with China, concerns were raised that some 2,600 defectors detained in China could face imminent deportation.
“North Korean defectors, upon repatriation, will be exposed to human rights violations of the most serious kind, and we have to work with a sense of urgency to stop China from sending them back, as this is likely our last chance once border controls ease,” he said.
Ji escaped from North Korea in 2006 and worked as a human rights activist before entering the South Korean National Assembly as a then-opposition People Power Party lawmaker in 2020.
The now-ruling People Power Party has increased calls on China to stop repatriating North Koreans detained there.
In a conference held last week, Rep. Choe Jae-hyung urged the Chinese government to take steps to help North Korean defectors make their way to South Korea or a third country, instead of deporting them back to the North.
He noted that the Asian Games kicking off in China’s Hangzhou will be an opportunity for the international community and the United Nations to call on Beijing to end repatriations of North Korean defectors.
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