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Banned U.S. citizen says North Korea defectors fabricating stories

By Elizabeth Shim
Banned U.S. citizen says North Korea defectors fabricating stories
American activist Shin Eun-mi is banned from traveling to South Korea. File Photo by Yonhap/EPA

Nov. 9 (UPI) -- An American banned from South Korea in 2015 for praising the North Korean regime is stirring controversy again with her remarks about refugees who fled the country.

Shin Eun-mi, 57, who was deported more than three years ago for remarks that violated the South's anti-communist national security act, blamed North Korean defectors for "demonizing" the Kim Jong Un regime on Friday, Newsis reported.

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Shin, who is still banned from traveling to the country of her origin, was speaking through a video conferencing platform to a South Korean audience attending the "One Korea Festival" in Uijeongbu, a city outside Seoul.

"The prejudice against North Korea is caused by the demonization of North Korea," Shin said. "The stories of some North Korean defectors, a lot of them are fabrications."

Shin said defectors who tell the truth about North Korea, or relay positive narratives of the country, find themselves in violation of the law.

South Korean commenters online denounced Shin's statements on Friday, urging her to differentiate ordinary North Koreans from those in power.

Shin's comments come at a time when North Korea is stepping up a propaganda campaign against economic sanctions.

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North Korea's Uriminzokkiri denounced coordination between Seoul and Washington on Friday, and targeted a "working group" for their discussion of denuclearization, sanctions and North-South cooperation.

Another propaganda outlet, Maeari, said joint drills are threatening peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The United States and South Korea resumed combined exercises on Monday after canceling key drills in 2018.

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