Rough diplomacy: UN delegates in punch up

Reply Wed 14 Mar, 2012 03:15 am
South Korean politicians have scuffled with North Korean delegates at a UN meeting on the North's alleged human rights abuses.

Several South Koreans tried to grab a North Korean diplomat leaving UN meeting in Switzerland as they chanted slogans against China's policy of repatriating North Korean defectors, footage from Yonhap news agency shot on Monday showed.

The South Koreans were pushed away by security and North Korean delegates.

The incident came amid reports that China is returning dozens of North Koreans to their communist homeland instead of letting them defect to the South.

China sees North Koreans who illegally cross its border as economic migrants, but activists fear the North Koreans are refugees who will face torture and imprisonment if repatriated.

Yonhap said the North's diplomat left the conference after denying a UN human rights envoy's criticism of his country.

Seoul has urged Beijing to provide information on North Koreans reportedly held in China, but Beijing has refused.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry has also sought help from the United Nations and the United States to stop China's repatriation.

In a statement that did not mention the scuffle, North Korea's Foreign Ministry lashed out at South Korea's government on Tuesday for raising the issue internationally. The ministry also accused the south of kidnapping North Korean citizens and turning them into defectors.

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