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Minister's citizenship questioned

Posted August. 29, 2000 13:16,   


Education Minister Song Ja, during his office as president of Yonsi Univerity in 1993, applied for the restoration of Korean citizenship in order to meet the requirement, along with his reluctant wife, Tak Soon-Hui, who later kept her U.S. citizenship. Many in Korea are voicing suspicions that Minister Song made use of a loophole. This suspicion can be supported by the Seoul Immigration Office records and investigative reports obtained exclusively Monday by the vernacular newspaper Donga Ilbo.

Minister Song on Febuary. 23, 1993, submitted an application for the restoration of Korean citizenship along with his wife. According to the related laws, he was required to apply for restoration along with his wife if he had one. The Ministry of Justice noted that on March 8 of the same year, the minister and his wife were granted citizenship restoration.

However, his wife later refused to forfeit her U.S. citizenship and continued to retain it. The Ministry of Justice, according to the law that states that a person who fails to forfeit a secondary citizenship within six months of being granted the restoration of Korean citizenship, automatically will have the restored Korean citizenship revoked. She effectively rescinded her Korean citizenship on September 7 of the same year.

The Minister`s wife was a U.S. citizen as well as a pediatric doctor at the U.S. 8th Army in Korea, and her loss of American citizenship could have led to the loss of her position.

Minister Song, after having been granted the residence and citizenship in the United States, utilized the fact that his citizen identification number in Korea had not been canceled and returned to Korea in September, 1976. He received a Korean citizen ID number on September 29, 1976, and a Korean passport in July, 1984.