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DPRK accused over activist arrests
Supporters say North Korea is helping China with investigationsKim Young-hwan has been detained in China for 50 days (courtesy of CRAK)
- Stephen Hong, Seoul
- May 17, 2012
The claim by the Committee for the Release of Activist Kim Young-hwan (CRAK) comes a day after South Korea‚Äôs Foreign Ministry summoned the Chinese consul general to explain the arrests, a sign the incident has caused diplomatic tensions between Seoul and Beijing.
China‚Äôs Ministry of Foreign Affairs only yesterday confirmed it was conducting investigations against the activists.
The detained South Koreans, who along with Kim Young-hwan have been identified as Yu Jae-gil, Kang Shin-sam and Lee Sang-yong, reportedly helped fleeing North Koreans defect.
CRAK said today Chinese authorities had confirmed they were arrested in Dalian in northeastern China on March 29 for violating Beijing‚Äôs law on national security.
No further details of the charges were provided by the Chinese authorities, CRAK spokesman Choi Hong-jae added, but they are expected to face spying charges.
CRAK has confirmed the four activists were moved from Dalian to Dandong, a city on the Chinese side of the border with North Korea, which it said was a sign that China plans to conduct a joint investigation with its Communist neighbor.
‚ÄúNorth Korea‚Äôs intelligence agency informed Chinese authorities about them and was involved in their arrest,‚ÄĚ said Choi, citing a source on North Korea.
Lee Sang-il, a spokesman for South Korea‚Äôs ruling Saenuri Party, told reporters in Seoul yesterday the government in Beijing might be conscious of North Korea in what was described as an ‚Äúabnormal‚ÄĚ use of China‚Äôs national security law.
Lee urged the Chinese government to immediately release the four activists, whose detention can be extended up to seven months, according to China‚Äôs national security legislation.
Kim, previously a supporter of North Korea, famously made a secret visit to the country aboard a submarine to meet with the country‚Äôs former President Kim Il-sung in 1991.
He later renounced his support for North Korea‚Äôs ‚ÄėJuche‚Äô ideology and is currently working as a senior researcher at the Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights, a Seoul-based group that supports North Korean defectors.
Chinese fishermen attack Korean officials
President presses China over refugees