ROK proposes inter-Korean talks over defectors
Updated: 2011-04-27 16:08
SEOUL - The Republic of Korea (ROK) proposed Wednesday holding Red Cross talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) next week, an attempt to settle the issue of DPRK nationals who officials here say have defected.
Officials also suggested the two Koreas discuss confirming the free will of ROK people held in the DPRK, the ministry said.
The move comes after Pyongyang repeatedly pressed for talks over repatriation of four DPRK nationals, whose fishing boat carrying 27 others strayed into ROK waters in early February.
ROK last month returned 27 people but let the four remain in there as they expressed their wish to defect, prompting the infuriated DPRK authorities to demand the four in question be brought to an inter-Korean meeting so their free will can be confirmed.
Ten of the 27 DPRK nationals who were sent back home claimed during a rare press conference last week that they were "kidnapped by the ROK navy" and were treated inhumanely.
Seoul's unification ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, has denied such claims.
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