China says Koreas should resolve defection
February 15, 1997
Web posted at: 1:56 p.m. EST (1356 GMT)
BEIJING (CNN) -- China distanced itself Saturday from
the defection of a senior North Korean official to
South Korea, saying the two Koreas should resolve the
Hwang Jang Yop, a Central Committee member of North
Korea's ruling Worker's Party, and his aide have been
holed up in the South Korean Embassy in Beijing since
China Foreign Ministry spokesman Guo Chongli said
although the embassy is located in Beijing, it is
technically on South Korean soil.
Because of this, "talks (should) directly involve
North Korea and South Korea," Guo said.
Guo, speaking to reporters in Singapore, did not say
whether China wanted the two Koreas to hold
face-to-face talks, which could delay any resolution
of the crisis, given the tensions between the Cold
North Korea has refused to accept news of the
defection, contending the two men were kidnapped.
Meanwhile, China tightened security Saturday around
the consulate housing Hwang. Helmeted Chinese
officers with AK-47 rifles patrolled streets
surrounding the building as a North Korean delegation
arrived in Beijing, presumably to try to get him back.
Under a 1978 treaty, China is required to return any
North Koreans found in China without visas or other
valid travel documents. That presumably would not
apply to Hwang and his aide who defected with him.
A founder of Communist North Korea and close associate
of President Kim Jong Il, Hwang is the highest-ranking
official to ever defect to the South.
Hwang, 72, defected with Kim Duk Hong, 59, identified
by Seoul as the president of a North Korean trading
firm in Beijing. The two had stopped in Beijing on
their way home from a North Korean-sponsored
international seminar in Japan.
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