Jan.18, 2001 - Petition to Blue House
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2014-01-02 17:26:25  |  Hit 952
Jan. 18, 2001
Abductee Family Members Petition Cheong Wa Dae

Surviving family members of people abducted by North Korea during the Korean War (1950 to 1953) submitted a petition to President Kim Dae-jung's office at Cheong Wa Dae Thursday.

The families demanded the government confirm whether their loved ones are still alive and, if so, ensure their return to the South. Some ten members of a gathering for the surviving families represented the parents, wives, siblings and relatives of about 85,000 South Koreans who are believed to have been abducted by North Korea during the war. The petition contained the signatures of the family members living in the South and about 7,000 citizens. The families asked for the remains of their loved ones, if they had passed away in the North to be repatriated.

To make an exact list of people abducted by the North, the families called for district offices to receive applications from families requesting the government to confirm the whereabouts of their lost family members. The surviving family association also demanded the government consult with experts on North Korean issues, a capable negotiator and to install a separate department within the Ministry of Unification to deal with people abducted by North Korea.

The association's head Lee Mi-il, who claimed her father was taken away by North Korean soldiers in September 1950 while he was running a brassware factory, argued their situation was different from that of separated families. Lee stated their families were taken away against their will, and people who fled the Communists from the North came to the South of their own free will, and therefore, they cannot be treated as the same matter. "We want the return of our families, not reunion," cried Lee. The group plans to hold a nationwide campaign to collect signatures for a petition for the return of their family members.
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