North Korea on Thursday issued two reports through its official media calling on South Korea to return a group of 13 defectors who fled from a North Korean restaurant in China earlier this month.
The Korean Central News Agency quoted an unnamed spokesman from North Korea’s Red Cross Society as saying the families of the 12 women from the group “are earnestly asking for direct contact with them as early as possible,” adding that “what we want is to let the daughters meet their parents and directly clarify their stand.”
The report from KCNA described the incident as “abduction,” and demanded an apology from South Korea. China confirmed that the group had left China legally and with valid passports.
A second report, issued by KCNA the same day, carried a statement from a spokesman, again unnamed, from the Central Committee of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League, which claimed the case of the defectors was engineered for political purposes ahead of that country’s general election days later. (President Park Geun-hye’s Saenuri Party lost its majority in the April 13 poll.)