Seoul refuses to repatriate 9 N Koreans

South Korea Friday rejected North Korea`s call to repatriate nine of its citizens who arrived in Seoul earlier this week

Last Updated: Oct 07, 2011, 15:52 PM IST

Seoul: South Korea Friday rejected North
Korea`s call to repatriate nine of its citizens who arrived in
Seoul earlier this week after staying in Japan since their
rescue at sea in mid-September, the South`s Unification
Ministry spokesman said.

"These North Korean people have clearly expressed their
wishes for defection, and our position remains unchanged in
handling the case in accordance with their free will and
humanitarian grounds," Chun Hae Sung told a news briefing.

North Korea demanded their repatriation in a message sent
to South Korea side via a Red Cross channel yesterday, Chun
said.

The nine -- three men, three women and three children --
had been staying at an immigration facility in southern
Japan`s Nagasaki Prefecture since being found adrift September
13 aboard a small wooden boat in the Sea of Japan.

PTI