China forcibly repatriates hundreds of escaped North Koreans, US ambassador warns

The U.S. government is accusing the People’s Republic of China of human rights violations regarding its repatriation of escaped North Koreans.

Ambassador Julie Turner, who was sworn in as U.S. Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues this month, first addressed the issue Friday.

“I am gravely concerned by recent and credible reports that the PRC repatriated large numbers of North Koreans, including as recently as last week,” she said during an event at George Washington University’s Institute for Korean Studies.

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A small wooden boat is towed into a port in Yangyang, South Korea. Four suspected North Korean defectors were found in the small wooden boat near the two Koreas’ sea border Tuesday, South Korean officials said. (Park Young-seo/Yonhap via AP)

South Korean authorities reported Tuesday a small, wooden boat of North Korean escapees was rescued near the country’s sea border.

The four refugees — reportedly a man and three women — claimed to be from the same family.

South Korea reports providing sanctuary for approximately 30,000 North Korean citizens who fled their oppressive conditions under supreme leader Kim Jong Un’s regime.

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Kim JOng Un Norht Korea 2023 Russia meeting

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, pictured here, meets Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Pyongyang, North Korea. (Russian FMA Telegram Channel / Handout/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Most successful escapees have traveled through China and Southeast Asia to South Korea, but recent repatriations point to a tightened cooperation between the Chinese Communist Party and the North Korean regime.

The U.S. State Department claims that approximately 600 North Korean escapees have been apprehended by CCP officials and sent back to their authoritarian home country.

“The State Department regularly raises such cases with the PRC and will continue to do so in the future, including in coordination with our partners,” she added.

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DPRK NOrth Korea paintings

People line up to visit huge portraits of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, on the occasion of the 78th founding anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea. (KIM WON JIN/AFP via Getty Images)

“The U.S. government has a long history of raising this issue with the PRC government. We have, of course, raised the most recent cases, including last week,” Turner said.

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