Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Abducted, escaped, and now held in China

The family of an abducted fisherman who escaped from North Korea into China last year urged the South’s government to push Beijing for his immediate return in what officials describe as a “unique case.”

In 1975, Yun Jong-su was abducted by North Korea along with 32 other crewmen aboard the fishing boat Cheonghwang-ho while operating in the East Sea.

Yun, who married an ethnic Korean from Japan, fled the communist state alone in May last year and has since been under the protection of a South Korean consular office in northeastern China. Yun’s wife and daughter were arrested by North Korean authorities while trying to flee with him, said Yun’s brothers, who live in South Korea.

The Chinese government has not allowed Yun to come to Seoul, unlike other abductees and Korean War prisoners who are usually sent to the South in less than three months, officials and activists say.

“He was taken [to North Korea] in his early 30s, and he’s now in his late 60s,” his younger brother, Yun Ju-ok, said during a visit to Seoul’s unification and foreign affairs ministries to lodge a protest.

Seoul officials could not comment on why China was barring Yun from leaving the country.


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