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Two S. Koreans still missing in China amid N. Korea threats

All Headlines 16:47 August 30, 2016

SEOUL, Aug. 30 (Yonhap) -- Two South Koreans remain missing near China's border with North Korea, the foreign ministry said Tuesday, warning of increasing safety risks involving North Korea's retaliatory threats on South Koreans.

The South Korean Consulate General in Shenyang, a northeastern Chinese city near North Korea, has been informed of seven South Koreans missing in the border area, foreign ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck said in a regular briefing. "The whereabouts of five of them are known, but two remain unaccounted for."

The comments came amid the increasing risk of North Korean terrorist attacks on or abductions of South Koreans in the wake of a recent string of high-profile defections of North Koreans to Seoul.

In April, a group of 13 North Korean overseas restaurant workers defected to South Korea. North Korea protested that they were abducted by South Korea's National Intelligence Service and threatened retaliation.

Earlier in the month, the government has also confirmed the defection of Thae Yong-ho, minister at the North Korean Embassy in London, to the South.

Amid growing safety risks, the South Korean Embassy in China has recently advised South Korean residents and travelers to refrain from trips to border areas or contacts with suspected North Koreans.

"Since the group defection of North Korean restaurant workers in April, North Korea has threatened retaliation against us through the North Korean media on about 10 occasions," the spokesman said. "In particular, there are growing concerns over North Korea's threats of terrorist attacks or abductions since the recent defection of the high-ranking official."

He said the embassy warnings come as threat levels have escalated.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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