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Robert Kim Departs For U.S.

Posted November. 24, 2005 08:29,   


"I felt like a daughter visiting her maiden home," said Robert Kim (Kim Chae-gon, 65), who is going to leave for U.S. on the morning of November 24. "I once again thank the Korean people for their heartfelt welcome."

Kim, who arrived in South Korea on November 6 after spending seven years and ten months in a U.S. jail, and a year and three months under probation for passing classified information to a military attaché from South Korea, was frank about his sentiments regarding his 18-day visit to his motherland in an interview with Dong-A Ilbo on November 23.

He said, "I didn`t have the chance to meet the primary school students who emptied their piggy bank to give money, and all those grannies who put crumpled bills in the collection box, even though they didn`t know me at all. I also regret that fact that I did not have the chance to visit the National Museum of Korea or the Korean Minjok Leadership Academy."

Recently, Kim declined to receive financial aid from his supporters` association. He believes that he can support himself as a freeman. However, he hinted a sense of uneasiness before his departure, "It is not going to be easy in the U.S. As an ex-convict, it will be hard to get a job. I do not insist on finding work in the U.S. I will go wherever I can find work."

He takes a great interest in youth education. “Robert Kim`s Letter,” (more information available at www.robertkim.or.kr) which is delivered to his support association members every week via e-mail, is the first work of his new life. He plans to unravel his thoughts on youth education through the letters.

Kim, who had worked in U.S. intelligence for a long time, had some `bitter advice` for Korean intelligence. "South Korea and the U.S. are sharing information, but it`s not perfect sharing. The Korean government should allocate more budget money to develop self-reliant information gathering."

Regarding the National Information Service`s eavesdropping scandal, he remarked, "The intelligence agency is displaying its capability in unnecessary places and the government magnified the problem, which in turn, weakened the intelligence agency. Intelligence should maintain its independence under strong leadership and only work to contribute to the development of the nation."

Jae-Myoung Lee egija@donga.com