South Korea has informed Beijing that it is concerned about the repatriation of many North Koreans in China, Yonhap reported.
South Korean Unification Ministry Spokesperson Koo Byoungsam made statements to the press following the news that approximately 600 North Koreans in China were repatriated.
"It appears to be true that a large number of North Koreans based in 3 provinces in northeast China have been repatriated," he said.
Stating that they could not obtain clear information on how many of those repatriated were asylum seekers, sick, or criminal offenders, Koo noted that no refugee fleeing North Korea should be forcibly returned to their country.
Koo said that the government regretted this situation and emphasized that China had sternly conveyed its concerns and clear positions on this issue.
Unification Ministry spokesman Koo said Seoul would do its best to protect those fleeing North Korea.
This week, a local newspaper reported that China forcibly repatriated about 600 North Koreans from Cilin and Liaoning provinces through the border towns of Dandong and Hunchun immediately after the Asian Olympics in Hangzhou.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on North Korean Human Rights, Elizabeth Salmon, announced that they estimate that more than 2 thousand North Koreans are detained in China.