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Nine government officials died on their training to China

Nine government officials died on their training to China

Posted July. 03, 2015 07:26,   


Nine Korean local government officials and a president of travel agency died, and some 10 more people were injured as their bus crashed at Jilin Province, northeast China on Tuesday. They were on a 5-day history and culture tour to visit historical sites of Goguryeo and Balhae and sites for independence fight against Japan for the general leadership program of Local Government Officials Development Institute under Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs.

While the exact cause of the accident has yet been found, some testimony say that the bus fell off a bridge as the driver was trying to avoid a bus running on the opposite lane. It could have been because of too-tight schedule which caused speeding, negligence, poor maintenance of the bus or substandard road condition in northeast China. It’s irritating to hear that transfer and treatment of the injured was made an hour after the accident and the initial response was not inappropriate. The Chinese government is advised to provide its full support for the treatment of the injured and transfer of the dead.

The areas where the tragedy happened are crowded with many Korean tourists during July and August as there are Baekdu Mountain and many historic sites of Goguryeo and Balhae. For this reason, not a few travel agencies make fierce competition to introduce “low priced travel package” with too-tight itinerary for the areas. It’s possible that the safety of tourists may have been pushed aside. It is said that the 5-day itinerary for the program was in fact for the 8-day schedule. Some point out that some Korean travel agencies commission the entire arrangement from accommodation, transportation to meals to local agencies for large-sized training and package travel, which could be a recipe for disaster. It is also questionable whether tax-payers’ money should be used for these meaningless oversea travels for the training of government officials.

On Wednesday, Minister Jeong Jong-seop offered his condolences to the victims and the bereaved families, and made a public apology for safety accident that occurred in the “foreign country during training trip.” The Korean government is strongly advised to make a close cooperation with the Chinese one for the handling of the dead and treatment of the injured.