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S. Korea says 300 North refugees in its embassies

Nearly 300 North Korean refugees are currently holed up in South Korean overseas missions having fled their communist homeland, official data showed Thursday

AFP , Thursday 4 Oct 2012
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In a report to parliament, the South Korean foreign ministry said there were 295 North Korean citizens being housed in South Korean embassies and consulates -- the majority of them in Southeast Asia.

Since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, more than 23,500 North Koreans have arrived in the South, mostly via China.

They often travel quickly on from China to Southeast Asian countries where they feel safer, due to China's policy of repatriating refugees caught crossing the border.

Most face a long stay in South Korean missions, given the tough screening process they must go through before being considered for permanent resettlement in the South.

Since 2007, around 2,000 refugees have been allowed to settle in the South every year, the foreign ministry report said.

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