Home / world / UN to analyze North Korea claims girls kidnapped by South Korea

UN to analyze North Korea claims girls kidnapped by South Korea

SEOUL, South Korea — The United Nations’ impartial investigator on human rights in North Korea stated Thursday he plans to look at North Korean claims that South Korea kidnapped 12 North Korean girls.

Tomas Ojea Quintana stated he raised the problem in a gathering with South Korea’s vice overseas minister and requested that his authorities arrange a gathering with the ladies, who had labored at a North Korean-run restaurant in China earlier than coming to the South in April final 12 months.

Whereas North Korea usually accuses South Korea of abducting or attractive its residents to defect, Quintana stated he was obliged to look into the case as a result of his workplace has been gathering what appeared to be conflicting accounts of what occurred. He did not elaborate on the accounts.

He stated he wanted to be “precisely exact” in regards to the girls’s state of affairs and whether or not they determined to return to South Korea “in line with their very own will.”

“Mother and father of those girls dwelling in North Korea are claiming that their daughters have been kidnapped, so all these components oblige me to concentrate to the case and perceive precisely what occurred,” Quintana stated at a information convention in Seoul as he wrapped up a four-day go to to South Korea.

In response to Quintana’s feedback, South Korea’s International Ministry stated the federal government had “sufficiently confirmed” the employees’ “free will” in escaping from North Korea and resettling within the South. It wasn’t instantly clear whether or not South Korea would enable Quintana to satisfy the employees.

The South Korean authorities has saved the employees’ location secret and prevented the media from contacting them.

North Korea, which regularly makes excessive claims about defectors, insists that the employees have been kidnapped by South Korean spies and has repeatedly demanded their return. South Korea denies the accusation, saying the employees selected to resettle in South Korea on their very own. South Korea additionally rejected a extremely uncommon overture by North Korea final 12 months to quickly ship the employees’ family to the South to satisfy with them.

It was the most important group defection by North Koreans to the South since North Korean chief Kim Jong Un took energy in 2011, in line with South Korea’s authorities.

South Korean officers earlier stated North Korean-run eating places abroad have been struggling economically due to strengthened sanctions in response to the nation’s nuclear weapons program. The employees who defected final 12 months stated their restaurant was struggling to satisfy calls for from North Korean authorities for overseas forex earnings, South Korean officers stated.

Greater than 30,000 North Koreans have fled to South Korea because the finish of the 1950-53 Korean Conflict, in line with the South Korean authorities.

In September, the mom of a Japanese lady kidnapped by North Korea stated she was grateful that President Trump had talked about her in his U.N. Common Meeting speech, and he or she hoped it may very well be an opportunity for a breakthrough. Megumi Yokota was kidnapped on her approach residence from faculty after badminton apply in November 1977. 

Japan’s authorities acknowledges 17 of its residents as abductees by North Korea, and Megumi, who was simply 13 on the time, has grow to be a logo of a nationwide motion to resolve the kidnapping situation.

North Korea, after years of denial, acknowledged in 2002 that its brokers had kidnapped Japanese residents to coach spies within the 1970s and 1980s and finally returned 5 of them. It stated Megumi died and says others by no means entered North Korea, however Japan disputes that and is looking for additional investigation.  

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This materials is probably not printed, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Related Press contributed to this report.

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