North Korea

Australian student released in North Korea says ‘I’m OK’

TOKYO (AP) — An Australian student released after a week in detention in North Korea arrived in Tokyo on Thursday after telling reporters he was in "very good" condition, without saying what happened to him.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced to Parliament that Alek Sigley, 29, had been released following intervention from Swedish diplomats and had been taken to the Australian Embassy in Beijing.

Later Thursday, Sigley flew to Tokyo's Haneda airport to reunite with his Japanese wife.Read more on

UN investigator says North Korea cracking down on escapes

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The United Nations' independent investigator on human rights in North Korea said Friday there are signs the country and China are strengthening their efforts to track down people who have escaped from the North.

Tomas Ojea Quintana said he raised the issue in meetings with South Korean officials and urged them to play a more active role in preventing China from sending the escapees back to North Korea.

He said he was receiving increasing numbers of accounts of fleeing North Koreans, including children, being detained in the city of Shenyang in northeastern China, and that there are signs Chinese authorities have recently strengthened their search for escapees in collaboration with the North Korean government.

He couldn't provide more specific information and said he has not discussed the matter yet with Chinese officials.

"I have been raising my concern that repatriation is contrary to the principle of non-refoulement, to which China is bound to, as repatriated North Koreans are at great risk of serious human rights violations, including torture," Quintana said at a news conference in the South Korean capital of Seoul.

Activists say there has been a recent increase in Chinese arrests of North Korean escapees and that raids on safe houses where they hide are also intensifying.Read more on