Thailand urges South Korea to accept more defectors

According to a recent story in the Choson Ilbo, the Thai government told the South Korean government in January to take the large numbers of North Korean refugees currently in Thailand off its hands, but the South Korean government found it difficult to transport more than 70 refugees at a time for reasons of security and the size of the North Korean refugee camp (Hanawon) in South Korea.

Excerpts from the story:

As of January, some 400 North Korean refugees, more than three times the optimum level of 120, were staying at the Thai immigration center. But South Korea government has been transporting only about 40 to 50 of them at a time on grounds that the North Korean refugee camp here has already reached saturation point and they have to be transported in secrecy.

A South Korean government official said, “We’ve brought North Korean refugees from Southeast Asia almost every week since December last year. As a result, the number of North Korean refugees in the Thai center has dwindled to about 300.” A total of 400 North Korean refugees have reportedly arrived in South Korea from Southeast Asia since early this year.

An estimated 800 North Korean refugees are staying at police stations or private homes in Thailand in addition to the immigration center, waiting to be taken to South Korea.

Hanawon, the South Korean government resettlement center for North Korean refugees, now accommodates some 660 North Koreans. They undergo resettlement training for three months before leaving the center. Ongoing extension work at Hanawon is expected to be completed around December.

The full story can be read here:
Thailand Urged Seoul to Accept More N.Korean Refugees
Choson Ilbo


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