China probes beatings of 2 Korean journalists

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China probes beatings of 2 Korean journalists

China has ordered a swift and thorough investigation into Chinese security guards’ violence against Korean journalists who were covering a presidential event in Beijing on Thursday, a Seoul foreign ministry official said Friday.

“An official of the Chinese foreign ministry’s bureau handling the Asian region contacted us last night and explained the measures that have been and will be taken in response to the incident,” he told reporters on condition of anonymity. “He said that his ministry has asked for relevant government agencies to immediately launch an investigation into this case ... and will take necessary measures, though it will take time to figure out what exactly happened,” he added.

According to the source at the Korean foreign ministry, the Chinese official still hoped that what he called an “accidental unfortunate event” would not negatively affect the ongoing state visit by the Korean leader.

On Thursday, Chinese security guards beat and injured two Korean photojournalists who were covering a business function attended by President Moon Jae-in hours before he held a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

One of them took a severe beating while being completely surrounded by the guards despite strong protests from colleagues and Korean officials, including from the presidential office Blue House. Both were taken to a hospital for treatment.

Korea immediately protested the incident. China has not expressed regret or made any official apology. Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that Beijing is paying “close attention” to the case.

The Seoul official said that relevant evidence, including video clips that captured the violence, has been submitted to Chinese police, who he believed have launched an investigation. The two injured journalists will return to Korea later in the day and be taken to a local hospital for further treatment, he said.

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