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Government Won’t Send a Condolence Delegation

Posted April. 19, 2007 03:58,   


On April 18, the government delivered its condolences to the U.S. through various channels for the shooting rampage conducted by Cho Seung-hui, a Korean student at Virginia Tech University.

The South Korean government said it would closely consult with Washington regarding the tragedy so as not to injure the positive mood between the two countries after the recent conclusion of the U.S.-Korea FTA.

After a summit meeting with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi at the presidential residence, President Roh said at a joint press conference, “South Koreans and myself are seized with grief and there are no words to express our sorrow. We pray for the souls of the victims and sincerely wish that the U.S. society overcomes its tremendous grief and finds peace as soon as possible.”

President Roh discussed measures regarding the rampage at the meeting with government advisers, including Song Min-soon, the Korean foreign minister, and the Chief Presidential Secretary Moon Jae-in.

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said, “I express my deepest condolences to the bereaved families of the victims on behalf of the Korean people and the administration.” at a policy measure committee meeting.

Top-level military executives, including Kim Jang-soo, defense minister, and Kim Kwan-jin, the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, sent a condolence letter to Burwell Bell, commander of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in Korea.

However, the government has decided not to respond to the killing at a national level and will not send a condolence delegation to the U.S.

As U.S. public sentiment has been focused on gun control laws, some say such a move at a national level would defame the image of South Korea by highlighting the fact that Choi is from South Korea.

The government will strongly encourage private-level condolence services, including fund raising and memorial services by Korean residents in America.

An official said, “Since the rampage was conducted by a Korean who had lived in the U.S, for a long time, a government response could backfire. But the government will get involved in Korean resident activities so as not to deteriorate the U.S.-South Korean relationship.