04/18/2012, 00.00
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Beijing with UN against North Korea: halt to repatriation of refugees

by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
China does not hide its disappointment in the (failed) North Korean missile launch. Border officials report a change of policy towards refugees fleeing the country to escape starvation, hitherto regarded as economic migrants. Full adherence to UN condemnation, with the strongest terms compared to a similar resolution in 2009.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - Beijing has blocked the repatriation of North Korean refugees who illegally enter into China to escape the misery and poverty prevailing under the Pyongyang regime. The decision, revealed by the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reports that the anonymous statements of two Chinese officials, is a response to the failed missile experiment operated by North Korea on 13 April (see AsiaNews 13/04/12 Pyongyang, Satellite launch fails. Seoul: A provocation), without consulting the leaders of the powerful ally and neighbor. China has also supported a harsh UN Security Council resolution condemning the action.

"If refugees are repatriated - the words of a Chinese customs official from Liaoning province, bordering North Korea - it is the end to their lives. We can not ignore this." He confirms that the deportations have been interrupted, while a second local administrator has added that the measure is tied to the launch of the missile - a satellite according to Pyongyang - condemned by the international community because it violates the United Nations provisions.

The suspension reflects Beijing's disappointment of its neighbor, who according to an official close to the government leadership "does not show the necessary attention to its friend, China." The Chinese government usually stops and repatriates North Korean refugees trying to cross the border, considering them migrants seeking work rather than potential "refugees".

Another sign of China's displeasure with North Korea is Beijing's adhesion to the UN Security Council resolution, in response to Pyongyang's ballistic test. The statement announced by the United Nations chief on April 16 is much harder than that released in 2009, following the launch of another missile by the communist North. In fact, the terms "conviction" and "violations" have been reinforced in 2009, becoming "strongly condemns" and "serious violation". In the past the definition of "serious violation" was dropped after the intervention of Beijing, who called for a softening in the tone of the draft.

Confirming the turnaround in the Chinese leadership, an editorial published in English by the Chinese newspaper Global Times, very close to the official line of the Communist Party states: "China will not 'relieve the wounds' of North Korea's new administration. [...] China will not defend 'whatever' behavior [Pyongyang's]. "

Meanwhile, the Communist North announced itself "free" to take "retaliatory measures as appropriate" after the withdrawal of the offer of U.S. to send 240 thousand tons of rice to alleviate the suffering of the local population, ravaged by an insane policy imposed by the Kim family. An official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, quoted by the official Korean Central News Agency, states that "the United States will bear full responsibility for what happens next." Among the hypotheses, the resumption of nuclear tests and new long-range missile launches.



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