China said Thursday that it wanted Canada to return the 44 refugees who scaled the fence into the Canadian embassy in Bejing to Chinese soil.
The Toronto Star reported that Chinese assistant foreign minister promised the North Korean refugees would be treated “in accordance with international and domestic laws and in the spirit of humanitarianism,” but declined to provide specifics.
China seems eager to remain on good terms with North Korea as it tries to persuade the country to participate in upcoming six-country nuclear disarmament talks in Washington.
Asylum-seekers have used this method in the past, illegally entering China from North Korea and then sneaking onto a foreign embassy’s grounds, thereby securing passage to South Korea. China by law deports North Koreans captured on Chinese soil back to their home country.