British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond sought to justify his use of the word 'marauding' to describe African migrants seeking to enter Britain from the French town of Calais. Hammond said migrants can pose a threat to the security of the Channel Tunnel and that the country cannot afford to provide a home to everyone in Africa.
"I used the word marauding to describe what is going on in Calais. We have a significant number of people around the Calais area moving in numbers. And because they are moving en masse in numbers, they can pose a threat to the security of the Channel Tunnel which was the context in which the question was asked," he said.
Hammond was in South Korea to improve bilateral relations on 10 August. He met South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in Seoul during a two-day visit.
"We are not able to offer home to everyone in Africa who is seeking a better economic situation. That is not sustainable or possible for us to do. We have got to distinguish genuine asylum seekers fleeing persecution from economic migrants seeking a better standard of living," Hammond added.
On 9 August, Hammond had said African migrants threaten the European Union's living standards and its social structure, saying the bloc was unable to take in millions of people seeking a new life. Hammond said the UK is still in early stage of discussion process with EU partners on its membership. Asked about the timing of Britain's referendum on its membership of the European Union, he said:
"If we will able to do it (the referendum) in 2016, we will do it in 2016. But I am afraid that is not something that we can predict at the moment because we are still at the very early stage of the discussion process with our European Union partners. As you know, the European Council has to decide that it will consider the issue again in December this year, the December council. We will see what progress we have made by that stage. But the referendum will be held as soon as we have a package to present to the British people."