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Government Was Not Aware of Kidnapping For Three Weeks

Posted June. 23, 2004 21:11,   


It has been confirmed by a statement of a government official that 34-year-old Kim Sun-il of the Gana Trade Corporation who was murdered by Iraqi militants was abducted on May 31, which is much earlier than June 17, the previously known date of his abduction, stirring up the country.

On June 23, the Deputy Foreign Minister, Choi Young-jin, remarked at a general meeting of assembly members belonging to Open Uri Party that “the president of Gana Trade Corporation, Kim Chun-ho has made his statement over the time point of abduction several times by far, changing it from June 17 to June 15 and May 31. Regarding Kim’s third statement as the most reliable, we have set about the work of confirmation.”

Kim had not unveiled this incident to the outside world because the Arab lawyer who counseled the liberation and negotiation work advised it would be better not to let the police and the embassy know, explained Deputy Minister Choi.

According to this, the political world is strongly raising the question whether the government deserves to be blamed for the fact that it has not recognized Kim’s abduction for about three weeks until June 21, when Al Jazeera reported this incident all over the world.

As for the assertion that the U.S. government has concealed information related to the abduction case from Korean government, Deputy Minister Choi stated, “From yesterday, we have sat down to check whether the U.S. gave the information only to the president of Gana Corporation, Kim, because of the rumor. As a result of confirmation to the Korean embassy to the U.S., the employees of the embassy answered that they had grasped the situation through CNN,” denying the theory of “Discordance in Information sharing” between Korea and the U.S.

On the other hand, Gana’s president Kim remarked at the interview with a reporter of the Associated Press on June 23 in Iraq that “Kim Sun-il made his way for the Ridgeway base of the U.S. army on May 31, which is close to Fallujah; I know that he was detained by armed militants around June 10. The fate of an Iraqi bodyguard, Hussein, who accompanied Kim Sun-il, has not been confirmed.”

He asserted that “I knew of Kim’s abduction on June 10 and had negotiated with the militants through local employees and lawyer. I postponed reporting this news to the embassy because the militants openly stated their intention to free Kim on June 18.”

In advance of this, the government held an executive members’ meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) at 2 a.m. on this day just after the news of Kim’s murder was reported, expressed its sorrow at Kim’s death, and decided on five items such as the continuation of the troop dispatch plan, strong censure against the anti-humanity terror acts, swift evacuation of Korean residents in Iraq, the earliest possible return of the remains of Kim, and the establishment of a joint-countermeasure team.

Jong-Koo Yoon Seung-Heon Lee jkmas@donga.com ddr@donga.com