[EDITORIALS]Abductee issue draws silenceIt turned out that an agent with the North Korean security agency carried out the kidnapping of Reverend Kim Dong-shik in China in January 2000. The government reported Mr. Kim’s abduction at that time, but with the agent’s arrest, it’s clear that the North Korean agency was involved.
We believe the government should take a firm stance against Pyeongyang. Since the Kim Dae-jung administration, South Korean governments have remained silent on these kind of incidents. They were reluctant to ask Pyeongyang to return the South Korean abductees to Seoul, saying that doing so would damage the advancement of inter-Korean relations.
For these reasons, the issue of Mr. Kim and other kidnapping cases were not discussed properly at dozens of inter-Korean governmental talks in the past.
In the case of Mr. Kim, the government had only announced that he was taken to North Korea and did not make an effort to investigate. Moreover, it has never talked about what it has done to get Mr. Kim back.
We do not understand the government’s position. If a government, which is required to protect the lives of its people, does not fulfill its duty, it should not be labeled a government anymore. The Korean government must be aware how the Japanese government has pressured North Korea on behalf of Japanese abductees.
Last September, when the British deputy foreign minister visited Pyeongyang, he presented North Korea with 18 human rights violation cases, which included two South Koreans, and asked the government for a written answer.
If South Korea remains silent on the issue of kidnapping and human rights abuses in North Korea, then the international community will laugh at us.
The government, first of all, should ask Pyeongyang for the repatriation of Mr. Kim. If necessary, the government must consider linking the case to our food aid to the North.
As for Pyeongyang, it should acknowledge its wrongdoings and offer an apology. The North Korean leader apologized to Japan. Why can’t he do the same for South Korea?
Separately, it turned out that there is a hole in our security system against communist infiltration. Following the case of a spy who pretended to be a defector, a North Korean agent has been active in the South. The government should take action immediately.