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Week of January, 24 2003

Week of January 24, 2003

The U.S. and China This Week


INTERNATIONAL: Police Arrest North Koreans Attempting Illegal Boat Crossing

Police arrested a group of 78 North Koreans in northeastern China this weekend. The North Korean refugees intended to board one of two fishing vessels purchased to smuggle them out of the country. Hoping to draw attention to the plight of the North Koreans, human rights activists had organized the crossings. The fishing vessels were financed by 21 aid groups from South Korea, France, Japan, and the US. One boat was headed to Cheju, South Korea, the other was headed to Sasebo, Japan. In preparation for their departure, the majority of the North Koreans had assembled in safe houses in the port city of Yantai. The Police initiated a raid on the houses after a tip from a Chinese informant. Three South Korean activists who were accompanying the North Koreans were also arrested.

After Chinese television reported that the North Koreans would be deported, several NGOs held a press conference in Tokyo asking for their release. Zhang Qiyue, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said the government would not confirm the decision to deport the North Koreans. She also criticized the foreign aid groups for their involvement in the attempted crossings.

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INTERNATIONAL: China Close to France's Position on Iraq

Beijing expressed concern on Thursday about the possibility of war with Iraq. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said Beijing was "worried and uneasy about the large-scale military build-up" in the Persian Gulf. She also described China's position as being extremely close to that of France. French President Jacques Chirac had previously told reporters that he was not convinced war with Iraq was necessary and that "everything must be done to avoid war." Also earlier this week, China's Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said he believes the weapons inspectors in Iraq should be given more time to complete their search.

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The U.S. and China This Week
The U.S. and China This Week

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