South Koreans still detainedTwo American journalists freed by North Korea tearfully reunited with their families in the United States on Wednesday, which made a deep impression on all those who watched the scene.
The Korean people, rather than being moved to tears, were filled with utter dismay because Mr. Yoo, the South Korean worker in Kaesong, and the four crewmen of the fishing boat Yeonan continue to be detained in North Korea.
It has been more than 130 days since Mr. Yoo was taken by North Korean authorities at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, and his whereabouts are still unknown. In sharp contrast, the American journalists were put up in a guesthouse in Pyongyang, spoke to their families, and were interviewed by representatives of the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang several times. After 140 days, they returned home.
Over 10 days have passed since the crewmen of the Yeonan were detained, but we have had no news about them, except comments from the North that the matter is “under investigation.” We returned the North Korean fishing boats that crossed the boundary to our seas after one or two days. North Korea returned a Korean fishing boat after six days in 2005.
The behavior of the North Korean authorities is beyond comprehension. No matter how deeply dissatisfied with our government they may be, this kind of behavior is uncalled-for.
The North should allow Mr. Yoo and the four crewmen to return. Mr. Yoo worked in Kaesong under an agreement made by the two Koreas. The North has never told us of his whereabouts, let alone granted us an interview with him. This is an act of brutality. Regarding the Yeonan incident, it is clear that a technical problem caused the fishing boat to cross the maritime border.
The government is part of the problem. It says it is doing all it can to resolve the problem, but it is difficult to believe this. The U.S. government took the risk of throwing a wrench into American policy on sanctions against North Korea by dispatching former U.S. President Bill Clinton to resolve the problem. There are not many who believe that our government would be capable of taking such determined action.
Should we not also have a government we can depend on, one that is capable of safeguarding our people without being affected by inter-Korean relations?