[WORD_ON_THE_WEB] 'Even a minor incident can trigger an international dispute'

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[WORD_ON_THE_WEB] 'Even a minor incident can trigger an international dispute'

Rhee Ken, a former Korean Navy special warfare officer who shot to fame in 2020 after appearing on a popular YouTube military training series, announced Monday he had arrived in Ukraine to fight Russia. Rhee's decision to travel to Ukraine directly contravenes a Korean government ban on travel to the country.
Choi Young-sam, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Tuesday the ministry confirmed that “Koreans have recently arrived in Ukraine without the government’s approval.”
Administrative sanctions on Rhee and his team are underway, the ministry said.
“The ministry is cooperating with relevant ministries including the Ministry of Justice to impose administrative restrictions on their passports,” said Choi, adding that Rhee and his team will “face criminal prosecution for violating the Passport Act.”
Choi emphasized that “Ukraine is currently in a state of war, and the situation is very serious.”
“The security situation is so delicate right now... He went over the top. If the government said not to do something, you better listen.”
“I’m worried that this might set a bad precedent.”
“I’ll applaud him for his bravery. I hope he comes back safely.”
“Do we need a reason to help those in need? That kind of courage needs to be applauded.”
“It’s not too late to say that it was just for show. Why can’t you see that your reckless behavior might cause diplomatic issues?”
“Even a minor incident can trigger an international dispute. An action related to a warring country comes with responsibility. This is not a personal issue.”

BY LEE SI-YEOUNG, SHIN HA-NEE [shin.hanee@joongang.co.kr]
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