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Unification minister meets US civic group head to discuss NK human rights

Oct. 23, 2023 - 21:55 By Yonhap
South Korean Unification Minister Kim Yung-ho (right) and Thor Halvorssen Mendoza, chief of the Human Rights Foundation pose for photos, Monday. (Ministry of Unification)

South Korean Unification Minister Kim Yung-ho met with the leader of a US-based civic group Monday to discuss ways of boosting cooperation on the improvement of human rights in North Korea, his office said.

During the meeting, Kim and Thor Halvorssen Mendoza, chief of the Human Rights Foundation, expressed concerns about China's recent forcible repatriation of North Korean defectors and shared the need for the international community to work more closely to prevent such moves, according to the Ministry of Unification.

Earlier this month, human rights advocacy groups in South Korea claimed that China forcibly sent back around 600 North Korean defectors detained in the provinces of Jilin and Liaoning.

The ministry then confirmed that a "large number" of North Korean residents were repatriated, without specifying the figure.

The HRF chief said his organization is planning to hold its annual international Oslo Freedom Forum on human rights promotion in many locations in Asia as part of efforts to let more people know of the North Korean rights issues, the ministry added.

The conference is held in Oslo on an annual basis, with satellite events having been held mostly in the US, according to the group.