Italy's checking if NKorean envoy's daughter was forced back

Italy's foreign minister says Italy is investigating whether the daughter of a former North Korean diplomat was forcibly returned to Pyongyang as her parents apparently tried to defect.

Enzo Moavero Milanesi was responding Wednesday to demands by Italian lawmakers to know the fate of the 17-year-old girl.

Her father, Jo Song Gil, had been serving as North Korea's acting ambassador to Italy. Last month, South Korea's spy agency told South Korean lawmakers that Jo went into hiding with his wife in Nov. 2018, just as his posting to Italy was ending.

Jo's disappearance raised the possibility of the defection of a senior North Korean official. His whereabouts are unknown and Italy has only said that Jo hadn't requested asylum.

South Korean media have reported Jo was under Italian government protection.