Go to contents

What was S. Korea doing for 34 hours after its civilian was killed by N. Korea?

What was S. Korea doing for 34 hours after its civilian was killed by N. Korea?

Posted September. 25, 2020 07:59,   

Updated September. 25, 2020 07:59


An unprecedented incident where North Korean troops shot a South Korean civilian who went missing near the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in the Yellow Sea and burned his body took place.

The military did not take any action to rescue him during the 34 hours stretching from when he went missing to his death while the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae waited 10 hours after receiving a report about the shooting from the military before reporting to President Moon Jae-in. Moreover, the president emphasized the denuclearization of the North by calling for the declaration of an end to the Korean War during his statement at the U.N. General Assembly’s video conference despite the knowledge of the South Korean military and government about the shooting. The incident has clearly revealed the brutality of the North Korean regime and the truths about the North Korea policies, which had been a point of self-praise by the Moon Jae-in administration.

According to the military’s report on Thursday, a fishery inspector affiliated with the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries disappeared on Monday morning and was discovered by a vessel of the North Korean fisheries office in the waters near Deusngsan cape in the north of NLL in the Yellow Sea around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday. At that time, he was wearing a life vest and holding on to a floating matter in distress. The North Korean vessel kept some distance from him and listened to his statement about how he drifted into the North Korean waters. Around 9:40 p.m. on the same day, a North Korean navy boat came and opened fire at him before pouring oil and burning his body, the South Korean military said.

Cheong Wa Dae held on Thursday a standing committee meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) presided by Suh Hoon, Director of National Security Office, and called for the North’s investigation, the punishment of the responsible, and apology. “North Korea’s killing of a South Korean civilian who was unarmed and did not show any resistance and burning of his body cannot be justified under any circumstance,” said Suh Joo-seok, the secretary-general of the NSC, during a briefing on the day. “The North should apologize for such a crime against humanity and take actions to prevent reoccurrences.”

Meanwhile, Cheong Wa Dae said that President Moon first received a written intelligence on the missing person at 6:36 p.m. on Tuesday and later received an in-person report on the killing at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, which was 10 hours after 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday when Cheong Wa Dae was briefed on the shooting. Criticism against Cheong Wa Dae’s risk management system is being raised as the president did not receive an immediate report about the killing even though a ministerial meeting joined by Chief of Staff to the President Moon Jae-in Noh Young-min, Director of National Security Office Suh Hoon, Director of National Intelligence Service Park Jie-won and others was held around 1 a.m. on Wednesday. “Cheong Wa Dae had tried to keep it quiet and failed to take appropriate actions for over 30 hours between his missing and death by North Korea,” said a military source.

Kyu-Jin Shin newjin@donga.com