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3 North Korean defectors get U.S. scholarships

All Headlines 16:22 August 23, 2011

SEOUL, Aug. 23 (Yonhap) -- Three young North Korean defectors living in South Korea have won scholarships offered by the U.S. federal government for study and internships at American universities, Washington's top diplomat in Seoul said Tuesday.

For the first time this year, the U.S. embassy picked six undergraduate students in South Korea under the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program. Funded by the U.S. State Department, the program offers one-year scholarships to outstanding but underprivileged students throughout the world.

"This is the first year that the U.S. Embassy Seoul has participated in this program, and six students were selected," Ambassador Kathleen Stephens said in an article she posted on her embassy's blog. "Three of them are originally from North Korea."

"Good luck!" she said, hoping the students develop "lasting friendships and relationships with Americans and our schools, businesses and community organizations."

Officials at the U.S. embassy in Seoul declined to reveal details of the scholarships given to the North Korean defectors.

In May this year, a North Korean defector received the British government's Chevening Scholarship for the first time. The British embassy in Seoul also expanded an English training program for North Korean defectors here.

The number of North Korean defectors in South Korea has risen to more than 21,000, amid severe food shortages and other hardships in their impoverished communist nation. The two Koreas remain technically at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a cease-fire.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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