North Korean Families Plead for Defectors to Return

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Four of the 31 North Koreans who had crossed the sea border to the South have expressed their wish to defect to the South. But their families in North Korea are pleaing for their return, likely under pressure from authorities in the North.

Families of four North Koreans who said they want to defect to the South have made emotional appeals for their kin to return home. The appeals were made in videos aired on a website operated by the North's propaganda agency.

[Rim Young-ok, Wife of Defector Ok Sung-hyeok]:
"I'm torn up as my husband and brother-in-law are detained in South Korea and cannot return home for more than a month."

Four of the 31 North Koreans had drifted across a tensely guarded sea border between the two Koreas and have expressed their wish to defect. South Korea says they will not be sent back when the rest are repatriated on Friday.

Such defections tend to anger the North, a tightly controlled society that restricts movement of people and flow of information.

Those claimed in the video to be relatives, are believed to be at risk of their own lives in the suppressed North Korean society if their family members defect. They expressed their anger at the South Korean government.

[Bong Eun-ha, Mother of Defector Lee Jeong-hwa]:
"I cannot help being enraged at the South Korean rebel regime's inhumane conduct of falsely insisting that my daughter wants to defect from her own country."

The South repeated on Wednesday that the (quote) "will of the four individuals must be respected" and that they can stay.

[Lee Jong-joo, Spokesman, South Korean Unification Ministry]:
"Four of them want to defect to the South. If the North Korean side wants, we have ever intention to verify their free will in a fair and objective manner."

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