• Kyodo

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Four North Korean asylum-seekers who sought refuge at a Japanese school in Beijing last month arrived Friday in South Korea via Singapore, a government official said.

The four were identified as Chu Mi Yong, 43; her 13-year-old daughter, Roh Yu Mi; 10-year-old son, Roh Grwang Myong; and Kim Chol, 20.

After arriving at Inchon International Airport, west of Seoul, at around 7:30 a.m., they expressed their gratitude for everyone who had helped them reach South Korea, the official said.

They initially wanted to go to Japan but later agreed to go to South Korea via a third country, Japanese officials said.

The South Korean government accepted Japan’s request to allow them to enter South Korea.

Japan has a policy of not granting political asylum or allowing foreign nationals to apply for refugee status at Japanese diplomatic missions.

The four North Koreans sought asylum at the Japanese school in Beijing on Feb. 18. Japanese diplomats later moved them to the Japanese Embassy, where they were placed in protective custody.

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