Voice of America

Voice of America 7 Feb 2020

North Korea Refugee Journeys Complicated by China Coronavirus Lockdown


A vast transportation lockdown meant to contain the spread of the coronavirus in China is forcing many North Korean refugees to suspend their escape to freedom. That is leaving many would-be defectors stranded in a country that has long sent them back home to certain punishment. The development comes as the number of North Korean defectors to South Korea has already dramatically slowed, as VOA's Bill Gallo reports from Seoul, South Korea.

Wuhan volunteer groups offer humanitarian assistance to workers affected by the coronavirus lockdown. CNN's David Culver has more.
Italian media is reporting that Pope Francis has tested negative for the novel coronavirus; North Korea lifts a quarantine imposed on foreigners; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims election victory despite being two seats short of a Knesset majority; and the Indonesian volcano Mt. Merapi erupts in dramatic fashion. Rylee Carlson rounds up world headlines from London.
North Korea illegally exported millions of tons of commodities, such as coal, last year to enhance its ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons programs, according to a confidential UN report seen by CNN.
Defectors in North Korea are now getting involved in politics in South Korea. Former North Korean diplomat Thae Yong-ho is even running for parliament for a new party, the United Future Party, which is accusing President Moon Jae-in's government for failing to protect refugees from the North and from Kim Jong-Un. DW correspondent Frank Smith has more.

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