China says N Korean restaurant defectors were in China and left legally
April 12, Beijing: At least 13 North Korean restaurant workers who defected to South Korea last week had been working in China and had left legally, China has said.
In a rare comment on such issues, a foreign ministry spokesman said the 13 had the right documents to exit China.
China tends to view North Koreans who escape across its border as illegal economic migrants and sends them back, according to the reports.
The group are now in South Korea, which provides an aid and adjustment package for all North Koreans who defect.
South Korea announced the defection on Friday, saying the size of the group was "unprecedented".
It gave no details of where they had been working, nor how they had travelled to Seoul, but said they had grown disillusioned with North Korea.
The Oslo Times