The Unification Ministry has dismissed reports by North Korean state news outlets that a group of female North Korean restaurant employees were forced into marriage in South Korea.
 
Ministry spokesman Baek Tae-hyun said on Friday that the North Korean restaurant workers who defected to South Korea en masse from China last year are stably adjusting to life in the South. He added that they chose to come to South Korea of their own free will and the government has no reason to send them back to the North.
 
North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency claimed on Thursday that the South Korean government kidnapped the 12 restaurant employees in April last year and forced them to marry. The North Korean news agency accused Seoul of lying that the restaurant employees had voluntarily chosen defection and settled well in the South. 
 
It also said that North Korea will never accept South Korea’s proposals to hold reunions of separated families and resume cross-border exchanges unless the restaurant employees are returned.