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Blue House: taking steps on abductees to the North

Jan 16,2006
The Blue House yesterday responded to a posting on its web site from Choi Wu-yeong, the daughter of a fisherman who was kidnapped by North Korean agents, asking for more attention to the abductee issue, by extending its condolences and saying it is taking diverse steps to solve the problem.
“Solving the problem [of South Koreans kidnapped by North Korea] is the government’s basic responsibility and there has been some progress, although it may seem trivial to the families of the missing persons. We will make efforts to utilize opportunities such as ministerial talks in the future to address the problem more aggressively,” Blue House spokesman Kim Man-soo told reporters.
He said that of the 480 South Koreans kidnapped by the North between 2000 and 2005, the whereabouts of 55 have been traced and 11 have met with family members in the South.
Spokesman Kim, however, noted that Mr. Roh had not made a direct comment on the matter. “The stance of the Blue House has not been established because of Ms. Choi’s letter ― we have merely stated our original position,” he said.
On Sunday, Ms. Choi, 36, posted a letter addressed to President Roh Moo-hyun on the Blue House Web site, asking that the president assist in the return of her father, Choi Jong-seok, who was abducted in 1987 with fellow shipmates while fishing in the East Sea.
“On Parents’ Day this year, I hope to pin a carnation on my father’s breast,” Ms. Choi wrote. She said that her father had few days left in his life, and requested that the president take North Korean abductee problems into his own hands.
“Former President Kim Dae-jung did his best to send back communist prisoners to North Korea and now we need a president that will do his best to bring back those that were abducted to the north. I hope President Roh Moo-hyun will be that president,” Ms. Choi wrote.


by Wohn Dong-hee, Choi Hoon


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