Officials draw up list of abductees
South Korea’s Unification Ministry is drawing up an extensive list of South Koreans believed to have been kidnapped by North Korea.
Families of abductees have long demanded that the government make more of an effort to have their loved ones returned. Their fates, however, have remained largely unknown for decades.
According to unnamed government officials, the Unification Ministry formed a special two-man task force to create a database on the abductees. They said the move is aimed at being “better prepared for possible negotiations on the abductees with the North.”
The government estimated in 2006 that about 3,795 South Koreans, largely soldiers fighting for the South during the 1950-53 Korean War, were captured by the North and involuntarily taken to the communist country. About 3,300 of them made it back home to the South but some 480, including fishermen taken into the country while fishing near the border, remain in the North, officials say.
In its 2009 operations blueprint announced earlier this month, Seoul mapped out a plan to try to bring home the South Korean POWs and kidnapped civilians. Some officials even hinted that they are considering offering cash incentives to Pyongyang.
By Chae Byung-geon JoongAng Ilbo/ Jung Ha-won Staff Reporter [email@example.com]