China Will No Longer Send Back North Korean Refugees

North Korean soldiers marching

Photo: wikimedia commons

China has reportedly refused to continue their repatriation of North Korean refugees, Japanese paper Daily Yomiuri reports.The move apparently comes after last week’s disastrous rocket launch, for which China feels their isolated allies did not consult them enough.

The move is certainly a good thing for North Koreans, many of whom attempt escape over the border (and many more engage in black market trade). One official source put it bluntly to the paper: “The defectors would lose their lives if they are sent back. We can’t overlook this.”

Those who aren’t killed are often sent to North Korea’s secret work camps, where the brutal punishments are notorious.

It’s also a fascinating move on behalf of China, who has traditionally turned a blind eye to North Korea’s excesses, and looks to be part of China’s attempts to take a firmer position on an international stage.

Click here for an inside look at North Korea’s secret gulag system >

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.