S. Korea to aid Britain with asylum cases

July 19, 2008 at 5:49 PM
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SEOUL, July 19 (UPI) -- South Korea is to work with Britain regarding nearly 450 people identifying themselves as North Korean defectors, a South Korean official says.

The Foreign Ministry official said South Korea is prepared to run the asylum applicants' fingerprints through its database to determine if they are already South Korean citizens, the Yonhap News Agency reported Saturday.

"In Britain, there are about 850 people presumed to be North Korea defectors among whom 450 or more have applied for refugee status," said the official, who wished to remain anonymous. "The British government sought our cooperation to confirm if the applicants are genuinely North Korean defectors."

Other unidentified officials told Yonhap while the National Police Agency opposed such diplomatic cooperation, the Foreign Ministry decided to offer its assistance after discussing the proposal with other related offices.

"What we will hand over is not the whole personal information of certain civilian but information on whether fingerprints sent from the British government are identical to those in our stockpile or not," one of the officials said.

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