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U.S. vows to closely monitor Laotian policy on NK defectors

2013/07/24 03:56

By Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, July 23 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. government will keep close tabs on a Laotian policy on North Korean defectors, an incoming envoy said Tuesday, amid speculation that Laos is no longer a safe haven for North Koreans fleeing their hunger-stricken communist nation.

Laos came under criticism from the international community for deporting nine North Korean orphans -- age 15 to 23 -- back to China in May. They were apparently repatriated later to North Korea.