Pyongyang says 31 on boat were snatched, beaten

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Pyongyang says 31 on boat were snatched, beaten

North Korea’s official news agency claimed yesterday that the 31 North Koreans who were found drifting south of the inter-Korean border in the Yellow Sea two months ago were abducted by the South Korean Navy.

“They forcefully kidnapped our people and the ship, which were drifting due to bad weather, and detained them,” said the report from the North Korean Red Cross, cited by the Korean Central News Agency. “After trying to maneuver [the 31 North Koreans] into defecting, some were never returned.”

The report also said the 31 North Koreans on the wooden fishing boat had been “beaten and threatened with guns” before being “dragged to the South.” It went on to say that the North Korean drifters had been threatened further to force them to defect to the South after being placed in cells.

The statement also mentioned the four North Koreans who had decided not to return to the North with an implicit threat to the families they left behind.

“Looking at their social, political and household backgrounds, they were citizens who had no reason to betray the republic and leave their families,” KCNA said. “There are family members of the four who have died or are still unconscious after waiting for their loved ones.”

The report comes three weeks after South Korea sent 27 of the North Koreans back in their ship as per North Korea’s request.

The Ministry of Unification said it did not feel the need to officially respond. “The 31 North Koreans drifted across the Northern Limit Line in early February and the South Korean government returned 27 on March 27,” said an official from the ministry, “with the exception of four who made clear their wish to defect.”

By Christine Kim []

한글 관련 기사 [연합]

北 “표류 주민 31명 南이 강제납치”

귀순 4명 北가족 ‘사망ㆍ실신’ 주장

북한의 조선적십자회 중앙위원회가 지난 2월 초 있었던 북한 주민 31명의 표류를 남측의 강제납치라고 주장했다고 조선중앙통신이 19일 전했다.

중앙통신에 따르면 조선적십자회는 `표류된 주민들에 대한 남조선괴뢰패당의 천인공노할 반인륜적 만행을 규탄단죄한다`는 제목의 진상공개장을 통해 "기상악화로 표류하던 우리 배와 주민들을 강제납치해 억류하고 귀순공작에 매달려 일부는 끝내 송환하지 않았다"며 남측을 비난했다.

진상공개장은 배가 표류했을 때 한국 해군 고속단정이 나타나 주민들을 구타하고 총으로 위협하며 강제로 남측으로 끌고 내려갔고, 감방 같은 곳에 넣어 위협과 공갈을 일삼으며 귀순을 시도했다고 주장했다.

또 귀순한 4명에 대해 "사회정치적 환경으로 보나 가정적으로 보나 공화국을 배반하고 가족을 버릴 이유가 없는 주민들"이라며 "4명의 가족 중에는 처자들을 애타게 기다리다 사망한 사람도 있고 실신상태에 있는 사람도 있다"고 전하기도 했다.

북한은 돌아간 주민 27명을 상대로 표류부터 귀환까지 상황을 모두 조사한 것으로 보이며, 귀순한 4명의 가족에게 위해를 가할 개연성도 배제할 수 없다.

북한은 3월 초 귀순자 4명의 의사 확인을 위해 대면을 요구했다가 남측이 거절하자 "대면 확인을 못하겠다는 것은 귀순의사 표시가 날조이며 유인 납치라는 것을 말해줄 뿐"이라고 주장한 바 있다.

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