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China Daily Website

China urges calm on DPRK entrants

Updated: 2012-02-29 07:24
By Zhou Wa ( China Daily)

BEIJING - Beijing urged Seoul to treat the issue of Democratic People's Republic of Korea nationals illegally crossing the border to China calmly in order to sustain Beijing-Seoul ties, instead of politicizing the issue.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks on Monday at a regular news conference when asked about an allegation from Republic of Korea media that the border crossers might suffer abuse if they were repatriated.

The reports from Seoul's media about illegal border-crossers from the DPRK showed its attempt to politicize the issue, which didn't reflect the truth or solve the problem, Hong told reporters.

"China and the ROK are important cooperation partners in many areas. China hopes the ROK could calmly treat the issue of illegal border crossers and tackle the problem through efficient communication and cooperation, and maintain the general interest of Sino-ROK relations," he said.

The ROK's national assembly on Monday passed a resolution demanding China stop repatriating illegal border crossers to the DPRK.

Signed by 29 lawmakers, the resolution condemned Beijing's repatriation of illegal border crossers and called on China to follow international law on the "refugees".

The resolution came as several dozen illegal border crossers from the DPRK caught in China will reportedly be deported back home.

ROK President Lee Myung-bak last week criticized China's treatment of illegal border crossers from the DPRK.

Hong reiterated that those illegal border crossers are not refugees and called for more respect for Chinese laws.

"According to China's information, some of Pyongyang's illegal border crossers have been repatriated several, even dozens of times, and came to China for economic reasons. There is no abundant evidence that they are refugees," Hong said.

"The dignity of Chinese laws should be respected and protected. Crimes including illegal entrances and organizing illegal immigration are not allowed in any country."

China will continue to properly settle relevant issues based on domestic laws, international laws and the humanitarian spirit, Hong added.

Seoul's attempt to publicly demonize China did not have a positive influence on relations among the three countries, said Chen Qi, an expert on East Asian studies at Tsinghua University.

"Pressured by domestic politics and the election, Seoul needs to arouse nationalistic passions" Chen said.

Seoul was unhappy that the United States, China and the DPRK skipped the ROK to tackle the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, as Washington and Pyongyang held talks last week in Beijing, which sent out positive signals, Chen said.

Wang Junsheng, an expert on Asia-Pacific studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, agreed with Chen, saying that the current ROK government and the opposition paralleled each other in the preparation for the election, so both of them need nationalism.

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