Five South Koreans have fled China to avoid the possibility of abduction to North Korea, an official from Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
Local reports earlier suggested that 10 South Koreans staying close to China’s border with North Korea had been asked by Chinese officials to leave for their own protection.
Those who have yet to return to the South have left the border area and are considering departing China “sooner or later,” according to the official cited by local news agency Yonhap, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.
Even though tensions remain high over Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons, Seoul remains committed to dialogue with the North.
Speaking during a parliamentary audit Thursday, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said, “We will beef up our leading role to generate an environment in which denuclearization talks can resume.”
Kang was appointed by President Moon Jae-in after he took office in May, partly on the promise of improving relations between the Koreas.
But North Korea views Moon’s stance as insincere and has continued testing weapons rather than come forward for dialogue.