South Korea deports North Koreans who fled after killing 16

A Chinese fisherman peers from a fishing boat at the mouth of the Yalu River yards from North Korea

According to Seoul's Ministry of Unification, the fishermen killed 16 crew members on their fishing boat prior to being picked up Saturday near the Northern Limit Line, the maritime border between North and South, in waters east of the Korean peninsula.

The pair had been deported due to the they had been "atrocious criminals", Unification Ministry spokesman Lee Sang-min mentioned.

When their boat was stopped in South Korea's waters, they mentioned they wished to resettle there - but investigators definite they had been merely trying to preserve up away from arrest.

The North and South do not have an extradition agreement but the South made a decision to return the two through the border village of Panmunjom. While fishing in waters near Russian Federation and elsewhere, the two men collaborated with another crew member and killed the captain, who they said had abused them.

Sources say the attackers used axes and hammers as weapons, but that the evidence was covered up. Spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo said the South Korean and US militaries have been coordinating over the drills but didn't specify the scale of the new exercises or how they would proceed.

South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will hold the 51st Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) next Friday at the headquarters of the South Korean defense ministry in Seoul. The country's constitution in theory recognizes North Koreans as South Korean nationals, and Seoul usually accepts fleeing North Koreans, pending an investigation into their background.

"I'm so devastated thinking how human rights has become an empty word", Kim said.

Specifically, Kim points out that South Korea is a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Torture, which prohibits the return or extradition of a person to another state "where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture".

Most North Koreans who flee do so via China, which has the longer border with North Korea.

North Korean refugees are first interrogated by South Korean authorities to ensure they are not spies. They were instead treated as criminals and returned to North Korea.

"The problem, frankly, is that the South Korean government has continuously failed to take North Korean human rights seriously".

There were 1,127 defections from North to South in 2017, according to data from Seoul.



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