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2017-03-26 :
N. Korean restaurant workers admitted to S. Korean university following defection
A dozen former North Korean restaurant workers have enrolled at a South Korean university nearly a year after their defection, a government official in Seoul said Sunday.

The official said the 12 female defectors were recently granted special admission to the institution, whose identity was withheld. The official added that the defectors felt post-secondary education would be essential to their adjustment to South Korea, and that they each selected their major based on their own interests.

Those 12, along with a male manager, defected to South Korea last April, leaving a Pyongyang-run restaurant in the Chinese eastern port city of Ningbo. The female defectors are mostly in their early to mid 20s.

They began their resettlement process in August, though no further details were disclosed at the time due to concerns over their safety.

North Korea has claimed that the workers were abducted by Seoul's spy agency, the National Intelligence Service (NIS), and has demanded their repatriation.

Restaurants operated by North Korea in foreign countries have served as a major source of hard currency for the country. The North is suspected of using the money to bankroll its nuclear and missile programs.

North Koreans employed by foreign restaurants are among the 50,000 workers sent abroad by the regime to earn much-needed hard currency to help it tackle economic hardships amid the U.N. sanctions. (Yonhap)



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