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U.S. withholds comment on mass defection by N.K. restaurant workers

All Headlines 06:05 April 09, 2016

WASHINGTON, April 8 (Yonhap) -- The United States on Friday withheld comment on this week's mass defection to South Korea by a group of 13 North Korean employees working at an overseas restaurant run by the communist regime.

"We have seen the reports. We refer you to the ROK (South Korea)," State Department spokeswoman Anna Richey-Allen said in response to a Yonhap News Agency's request for comment on the defection. She did not elaborate.

South Korea announced earlier Friday that the North Koreans -- one male manager and 12 female employees at a restaurant in an unidentified nation, arrived in Seoul on Thursday. It marked the first time that an entire group of North Koreans at the same restaurant has opted to come to South Korea at once.

Overseas restaurants operated by North Korea are known to be facing difficulties in doing business after the U.N. Security Council's (UNSC) sanctions on Pyongyang for its January nuclear test and long-range rocket launch in February went into effect.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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