[EDITORIALS]China Lacked Basic CourtesyThe news that a South Korean citizen, reported as Mr. Shin, was sentenced to death on drug-related charges in a Chinese court and was executed is regrettable. This is the first time a Korean citizen was executed for a felony in a foreign country since the South Korean government was created. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade was not aware of the execution of the South Korean citizen. Simply, China failed to notify Seoul before the execution. This is not in line with proper procedure.
We have no intention of defending Mr. Shin's criminal activity of producing a drug and distributing it in China. However, it is hard not to severely criticize the foreign ministry's indifference in protecting its own citizen and the Chinese government's lack of courtesy in relationship to other countries.
Mr. Shin was one of four South Koreans who were arrested in China and put on trial four years ago. All received harsh sentences. One of the men died from an illness in prison last November. Despite that fact, the Korean embassy in Beijing and the foreign ministry were not even aware that the Chinese court passed a death sentence on Mr. Shin and that the execution of judgment was reconfirmed in August. Of course, the ministry had no knowledge of the execution itself.
If the ministry had perceived that protecting Koreans overseas is one of its most important obligations, would it not have actively negotiated with the Chinese government to allow a family reunion with Mr. Shin before the execution? It is a well known fact that China takes vigorous diplomatic and consular actions when a Chinese citizen is arrested in Korea.
The Chinese government ignored diplomatic practice by notifying us only after the execution, and that only when Seoul asked. It is an international custom to inform the country concerned in advance when executing a national of that country. Even though our government inquired about the trial process in June, the Chinese government failed to notify us on the trial proceedings which damage relationships between the two countries. China should be more considerate in mutual cooperation in consular activities.