N Ko­rea de­mands re­turn of work­ers

The Myanmar Times - - World -

NORTH Ko­rea yes­ter­day de­manded the repa­tri­a­tion of a dozen restau­rant work­ers who jointly fled to South Ko­rea, a day af­ter blast­ing Seoul over a sep­a­rate high-pro­file de­fec­tion.

The state­ment yes­ter­day was Py­ongyang’s first re­ac­tion to Seoul’s an­nounce­ment last week that the 12 restau­rant em­ploy­ees and their man­ager had been re­leased from gov­ern­ment cus­tody.

The group had been “re­leased into so­ci­ety”, the South’s uni­fi­ca­tion min­istry said, af­ter the in­tel­li­gence ser­vice had com­pleted in­ves­ti­ga­tions into their case.

North Ko­rea claims the group was kid­napped.

A spokesper­son for its emer­gency com­mit­tee set up for “res­cu­ing” ab­ductees de­scribed the min­istry’s an­nounce­ment as a “mean plot” aimed at “cov­er­ing up the truth be­hind the group ab­duc­tion”.

“Keep­ing them hid­den from the public ... cit­ing ‘safety rea­sons’ shows that the pup­pet gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment is a com­plete fab­ri­ca­tion,” he said.

“We will con­tinue fight­ing un­til we can res­cue and bring back our fe­male cit­i­zens,” the spokesper­son added in a state­ment car­ried by the North’s of­fi­cial KCNA news agency.

The wait­resses had been work­ing at a North Ko­rea-themed restau­rant in China. They ar­rived in the South in April.

While Seoul said they fled vol­un­tar­ily, Py­ongyang claimed they were kid­napped. –

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