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Dec 14, 2:49 AM EST

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- The United Nations' independent investigator on human rights in North Korea says he plans to investigate North Korean claims that South Korea abducted 12 North Korean women.

Tomas Ojea Quintana said Thursday that he requested the South Korean government to set up a meeting with the women who had worked at a North Korean-run restaurant in China before coming to the South in April last year.

North Korea regularly accuses South Korea of abducting or enticing its citizens to defect, although Seoul denies it.

South Korea says workers chose to resettle in the South on their own. It was the largest group defection by North Koreans to the South since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took power in 2011.

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