The group called for radiation testing of 900 North Korean defectors

The group called for radiation testing of 900 North Korean defectors

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Human rights advocates urged South Korea on Tuesday to offer radiation exposure tests to hundreds of North Korean defectors living near the country’s nuclear test site.

Tests conducted by the South Korean government on 40 people in 2017 and 2018 found that at least nine of them had abnormalities that could indicate high radiation exposure, but Seoul’s Unification Ministry said a conclusive link to North Korean nuclear activity could not be established and other factors were possible. had, such as age, smoking habits or other types of chemical exposure.

South Korea’s radiation tests were subsequently halted.

The Seoul-based Transitional Justice Working Group cited the findings and its own analysis of geographic and census data to suggest that North Korea’s six nuclear explosions could have spread radioactive material through water within 40 kilometers (24.8 miles) of the Punggye-ri nuclear facility. It said more than a million people live in the region, relying on groundwater and wells as piped water is scarce beyond the capital Pyongyang and several other cities.

North Korea has dismissed security concerns surrounding its nuclear tests, saying the test environment was fully controlled each time and that it had not detected any radioactive leaks. It allowed foreign journalists to film some tunnel explosions at the site in 2018 but never allowed international nuclear inspectors to visit the Punggye-ri test site.

Seoul’s Unification Ministry, which handles affairs with the North, said in a statement that it would consider resuming tests if North Korean defectors had health problems or test requests.

The advocacy group said South Korean records show that about 900 people have fled to South Korea from the area around the Punggye-ri site since the North’s first nuclear test in 2006. It said it was important for them to resume radiation testing given the lack of access to the north. Korea’s nuclear facilities.

“North Korean defectors who show signs of radiation exposure must be given accurate information and appropriate treatment,” said Ethan Hee-seok Shin, a legal expert at the group. He also called for an independent investigation into North Korea based on the test results.

The advocacy group also called on South Korea, Japan and China to investigate North Korean agriculture and seafood contamination risks. It said the area around the nuclear test site is a food-producing region with abundant rainfall and a network of streams leading to the sea.

South Korea and Japan have imposed embargoes for years, but products are often smuggled and disguised as Chinese.

In 2015, Seoul’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety found high levels of radioactive cesium isotopes in dried hedgehog mushrooms produced in North Korea that were being sold as Chinese products.

Observers said North Korea was preparing to conduct its seventh nuclear test at the Punggye-ri site and first since September 2017.

#group #called #radiation #testing #North #Korean #defectors

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button