A North Korean defector-turned-lawmaker of South Korea's ruling People Power Party called Monday for a UN human rights resolution to include a phrase stipulating China's responsibility for the forced repatriation of North Korean refugees.
Rep. Tae Yong-ho made the remark during a meeting with South Korean correspondents in New York as discussions are under way to adopt an annual UN General Assembly resolution on the North's human rights situation.
The discussions came after hundreds of North Koreans were forcibly sent back home from China last month.
"China is the country that should take responsibility for the forced repatriation," Tae said, calling for specifying China's responsibility in the envisioned UN resolution.
The lawmaker acknowledged that it could be realistically impossible to include such a phrase because China is one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, but he stressed that a bigger problem is not to make such an attempt at all.
"If the international community remains silent on China's responsibility, China will continue to show an arrogant attitude," Tae said.
Tae, who served as the No. 2 official at the North's Embassy in London before his defection to South Korea, has been on a five-day trip to the United States to raise international awareness of the repatriation issue. Traveling with him was a group of family members of forced repatriation victims.
The group staged a rally in front of North Korea's mission at the United Nations earlier Monday. Demonstrators called for bringing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and leaders of the Communist Party of China to trial at the International Criminal Court.
On Tuesday, Tae is scheduled to visit Washington and meet with Ambassador Julie Turner, the new US special envoy for North Korean human rights issues. (Yonhap)