US to press China over repatriation of NKoreans

North Korea
Posted at 5:18 PM, Apr 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-22 17:18:00-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. envoy says Washington will press China over its forcible repatriation of refugees to North Korea. He likened the North's vast gulag to that operated by the Soviet Union in the 1930s.

Robert King is envoy for North Korean human rights issues although he's rarely had the chance to visit because of tense relations with Pyongyang.

He told reporters Monday that human rights in North Korea remain deplorable. He said the prison camp system is estimated to hold between 130,000 and 200,000 people.

He said numbers of refugees fleeing North Korea have decreased since 2011 as border controls have increased.

He said there are indications China is continuing refugee repatriations.

King is among U.S. officials meeting in Washington this week with China's envoy on Korean affairs, Wu Dawei.