The defectors had initially requested help from the South Korean Embassy, which was allegedly rejected. After their entry into the Danish Embassy in Vietnam on July 11 compound, the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry and Danish Embassy consulted on how the case would be treated.
Later on the Danish Embassy handed over one male and three female North Korean defectors to the South Korean authorities which went very smoothly, Thomas Moller, an official of Denmark’s Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying “There was no drama involved,” and he was declining to give details.
Thousands of North Koreans have fled their communist homeland to escape hunger and harsh political oppression, many taking a long and risky land journey through China to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and other Southeast Asian countries on their way to asylum in South Korea.
More than 10,000 North Koreans have arrived in South Korea since the three-year Korean War ended in 1953. In principle, South Korea says it will accept any North Korean who wants to resettle in the South.
But North Korea lodged a strong protest with the South in 2004 when South Korea airlifted about 460 North Koreans out of Vietnam in the biggest mass defection ever. It led to a chill in inter-Korean relations. South Korea also concerned that the rapid increase in arrivals could strain inter-Korean ties and complicates international efforts to resolve the issue of the North’s nuclear program.