Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing Saturday refuted reports of the existence of refugees from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in China, saying these people are "illegal border crossers."
In response to a question raised by a correspondent from the Republic of Korea at a press conference, Li said, "These people you refer to are not refugees, but illegal border crossers."
China and the DPRK share a common border of some 1,300 km, and it is nothing strange to see some illegal border crossing between the two countries, said the minister.
The Chinese government can handle the issue well in accordance with domestic laws, international laws and the humanitarian principles, he added.
(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2004)