An estimated 30,000 North Korean citizens live in South Korea, welcomed after risking their lives to escape.
Due to the heavily-armed nature of the border between the two countries, most who flee North Korea escape into China, where human traffickers move them south into neighboring countries and from there send them to South Korea.
Chosun Ilbo notes that the North Korean media post demanding a return of the waitresses was posted on Monday, after the broadcast of the interview with Heo.
Chosun Ilbo notes that this is not the first time this year that North Korea has demanded refugees from the communist country be returned home.
The South Korean newspaper notes that the demand for the return of these specific North Korean citizens could rapidly expand into a demand for the return of all tens of thousands of North Koreans in the South, and that some publications under Pyongyang’s control have already demanded a return of the “traitors” to be tried and executed in South Korea.