China's foreign ministry said Tuesday it had "no relevant information" about a Chinese pastor who was found dead three days ago near the sensitive border with North Korea.
The Chinese pastor, who is an ethnic Korean and only identified by his surname Han, was found dead on a hill on Saturday evening in Changbai county in Yanbian, according to a source with knowledge of the matter there.
Han is said to have supported North Korean defectors since 1993.
Choi Sung-yong, a South Korean activist who campaigns for the return of South Koreans who were abducted by North Korea, claimed that Han was killed by North Korean agents. Choi said his claim was based on conversations with North Korean defectors.
"I have no relevant information on that," China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei replied, when asked about the death of the Chinese pastor and the possible involvement of North Korean agents.
The Yanbian prefecture sits on the border with North Korea and ethnic Koreans account for about 30 percent of its population.
South Korea warned Monday that its citizens should be on guard overseas over the possibility that they could be abducted by North Korea in retaliation for last month's defection of 13 North Korean staff at a restaurant in China.
Meanwhile, North Korea is gearing up for a rare congress of its ruling Workers' Party that starts on Friday.
Asked about whether China would send a delegation to the North Korean party congress, Hong relied, "I have no relevant information." (Yonhap)