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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.
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