Security tightens in N. Korean defector deadlock
February 18, 1997
Web posted at: 11:31 a.m. EST (1131 GMT)
BEIJING (CNN) -- Chinese police backed by armored personnel
carriers tightened security Tuesday outside the South Korean
consulate where a North Korean defector sought asylum six
Officially, however, Beijing was silent about what's going on
at the consulate and whether there has been any progress in
negotiations among China, North Korea and South Korea over
the case of Hwang Jang Yop, the highest ranking official ever
to defect to the South.
At a press conference Tuesday, China's foreign ministry
would only repeat what the government has said
before -- that China hopes all parties involved can deal with
the matter calmly, and do what is necessary to maintain
peace and stability in the Korean peninsula.
Kim Jong Il appears to accept defection
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, in a speech on
government-run radio, hinted Monday that North Korea could be
softening its position on Hwang's case. While he did not
mention Hwang directly, he said that cowards who wish to
leave the country should go ahead and do so.
Kim's speech followed a statement released by the North
Korean foreign ministry, which admitted that it was possible
Hwang could have defected.
This softening in North Korea's position makes it more likely
that Hwang could be able to leave China without the immediate
threat of violence by North Korea, observers said.
North Koreans end stakeout of consulate
The behavior of North Koreans in Beijing has changed as
well. By Monday afternoon, North Korean embassy men and cars
had disappeared from outside the South Korean consulate,
where they'd been holding a round-the-clock vigil ever since
Hwang entered last Wednesday.
But China took no chances Tuesday, sending at least two
armored personnel carriers to reinforce approaches to
Meanwhile, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Soo-sung called
for "extraordinary alertness" and military readiness against
North Korea, telling parliament that Pyongyang had
increasingly deployed offensive forces near the border with
the South, despite an economic crisis and chronic food
A military spokesman said Lee was referring to the North's
defense build-up in recent years and no additional troops had
been deployed at the tense border in the past week.
Correspondent Rebecca MacKinnon and Reuters contributed to this report.
- North Korea hints at accepting Hwang's defection - February 17, 1997
- China says Koreas should resolve defection - February 15, 1997
- China seeks diplomatic resolution to N. Korean's defection - February 14, 1997
- Statement: Defector wants Koreas to reconcile - February 13, 1997
- Defector says he's fed up with North Korean dictatorship - February 12, 1997
- Top North Korean official defects - February 12, 1997
- Happy ending for defectors from N. Korea - December 20, 1996
- 17 family members defect from North Korea - December 9, 1996
- Korean defectors find new life bittersweet - September 25, 1996
- Defectors signal more doubts about North Korea - May 31, 1996
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