Go to contents

Kidnap Victims’ Families Urge More Action on Abductees

Posted March. 12, 2009 07:55,   


Families of South Koreans abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 80s have urged Seoul to try harder to get them back.

They made the call yesterday after watching the meeting between Kim Hyon-hui, an ex-North Korean spy who helped orchestrate the 1987 bombing of Korean Air Flight 858, and the son of Yaeko Taguchi, a Japanese national kidnapped by the North in 1978.

A group of families of South Korean abductees issued a statement yesterday expressing appreciation to Seoul and Tokyo for arranging the meeting. They said, however, that the South Korean government should learn from the Japanese government’s efforts to verify the fates of the abductees.

The group said Seoul should stop being dragged around by Pyongyang and demand the repatriation of the abductees. A combined 487 South Koreans have been kidnapped by the North.

Kim Jeong-hee, 48, whose father was abducted by the North in 1968, said, “The meeting between Kim and Taguchi’s son was touching but it also saddened and angered me. My father will be 77 years old this year. The (South Korean) government must try to get (the abductees) repatriated as soon as possible because many of them could die soon.”

Many Internet users also left comments on the group’s homepage, criticizing the way Seoul has handled the issue. A relative of the abductees wrote, “Japan is trying so hard to get its people back. But South Korea doesn’t even know if its abductees are dying.”

The group’s leader Choi Sung-yong said Seoul cannot even call for the abductees’ release, adding it must reflect on why it is so lukewarm about the issue when nearly 500 of its people remain captive in the communist state.

Last week, the group also sent a document to Seoul and Tokyo saying Taguchi’s husband might have been a South Korean student kidnapped by the North and urged an investigation into the allegation.