SEOUL — South Korea's Vice Defense Minister, Kim Seon-ho, reaffirmed the country's stance against the forced repatriation of North Korean defectors in China, during talks with Lt. Gen. Jing Jianfeng, deputy chief of staff of China's Joint Staff Department.
According to Yonhap News Agency, the discussions took place on the sidelines of the Xiangshan Forum, an international security dialogue held in Beijing. The meeting came amid claims from human rights advocacy groups that China has recently sent hundreds of North Koreans back to their home country, in spite of Seoul's repeated appeals against such actions.
China, a key ally to North Korea, has a policy of not recognizing North Korean defectors as refugees and routinely sends them back, where they can face severe penalties. During the talks, Kim also encouraged China to play a "constructive" role in the U.N. Security Council regarding North Korea's nuclear program. The two sides agreed to resume personnel exchanges and enhance communication to strengthen mutual trust.