About three or four South Korean MPs tried to grab a North Korean diplomat leaving the meeting in Geneva, as they chanted slogans against China’s policy of repatriating North Korean defectors, footage from Yonhap news agency showed.
The MPs were pushed away by security and North Korean delegates. UN spokeswoman Corinne Momal-Vanian confirmed the scuffle took place on Monday, saying that the South Koreans “behaved aggressively”.
“This is obviously a regrettable incident [and] unacceptable behaviour,” she said.
The incident came amid reports that China is returning dozens of North Koreans to their homeland instead of letting them defect to the South.
China considers North Koreans who illegally enter its soil economic migrants, but activists fear the North Koreans are refugees who will face torture and imprisonment if repatriated to the authoritarian Communist regime ruled by Kim Jong-un.
Yonhap said the North’s diplomat left the conference after denying a UN human rights envoy’s criticism of his country.
The South has urged China to provide information on North Koreans reportedly held there, but Beijing has refused.