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Cablegate: North Korean Refugees Depart Vietnam

VZCZCXRO4348
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHHI #1415 2201522
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 081522Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6034
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 3497
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1190

UNCLAS HANOI 001415

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, G/SENK, AND PRM, BANGKOK FOR REFUGEE COORDINATOR,
GENEVA FOR RMA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PREF CB KN VM
SUBJECT: NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES DEPART VIETNAM

REF: HANOI 0479

1. (SBU) Four North Koreans who had taken refuge in the Danish
Embassy in Hanoi left Vietnam for the ROK on July 27 via commercial
air via Singapore without incident. UNHCR's Chief of Mission Vu Anh
Son had met with the North Koreans, three women and one man, soon
after they took refuge in the Danish Embassy on July 12, and
confirmed their North Korean citizenship. The four expressed a
desire to re-settle in South Korea, and UNHCR worked with GVN and
Danish authorities to process the transfer, discreetly, via a third
country, as is current GVN policy for DPRK refugees who take refuge
in third country missions (Reftel). UNHCR told us the GVN was
"completely cooperative," while preferring to maintain a low profile
on the case.

2. (SBU) The four penetrated the Danish Embassy's outside fence and
spent just over two weeks living in the storage room at the Danish
Embassy, where food and medical care were arranged for them. UNHCR
told us they came to Vietnam via China, traveling along a
"well-known underground railroad."

3. (SBU) We have seen no indication of any negative reaction from
the DPRK in this case, unlike in 2004, when public reports of a GVN
operation to "secretly" transfer over 400 North Korean refugees from
Hanoi directly to Seoul sparked a highly negative response from the
DPRK, including the temporary recall of the DRPK Ambassador to
Vietnam. After this 2004 incident the GVN changed its policy, no
longer permitting the direct transfer of North Korean refugees to
Seoul.

MARINE

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