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Eleven North Korea defectors arrested by China, face deportation: Activist

Published on Jul 2, 2014 8:12 PM

SEOUL (REUTERS) - Chinese authorities have arrested 11 North Koreans who had fled their country and will likely deport them back to the North where they could face severe punishment, a human rights activist said on Wednesday.

The 11 were arrested in China's Jilin province that borders North Korea on June 19, said the activist, who has worked as a Christian missionary helping North Korean defectors in China. He asked to be identified only by his surname Kim in order not to jeopardise his work with defectors in China. "We hope that (Chinese President) Xi Jinping will help these people as the leader of a great nation," Kim told Reuters.

Mr Xi visits South Korea on Thursday for talks with President Park Geun-hye focusing on the North's nuclear programme and promoting the two countries' commercial ties.

The United Nations has said China is required under international law not to return defectors to North Korea, where they could face persecution, torture and possibly death.

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