North Korea yesterday called on China to return its citizens recently caught trying to flee to South Korea, accusing Seoul of luring and kidnapping its people.
The statement by the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea came after at least 13 refugees from North Korea were reportedly arrested this month in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming while trying to reach South Korea.
"The DPRK calls upon the countries concerned... to send back its inhabitants as early as possible as required by international law," the committee spokesman said.
He accused the South and the US of abducting North Koreans in order to use them for anti-North Korea smear campaigns.
The two nations were infiltrating "plot-breeding organisations under the guise of religion and human rights and brokers blinded with money-making" into a third country, he said, apparently referring to China. Christian missionary groups are involved in helping people who flee from the North into China.
They help them transit China to a third country, from where they can fly to South Korea.