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South Korean fisherman abducted in 1975 flees North Korea to China

South Korean fisherman abducted in 1975 flees North Korea to China

A South Korean abductee has escaped from North Korea after more than 30 years in the communist state and is now under South Korean protection in China, an official said Monday.
Yoon Jong-soo, 65, fled the North in May and entered the South Korean consulate in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang later that month, said Choi Sung-yong, head of a group of relatives of South Koreans allegedly kidnapped by the North.
However, Yoon's North Korean wife and daughter were arrested and under investigation, said Choi, who helped Yoon escape.
"South Korea and China have been in talks over Yoon and China is not opposed to sending him back to South Korea," the Foreign Ministry official said. He asked not be named, citing the sensitivity of the issue.
The abductee ended up in the North when his fishing boat and 32 other crew members were seized off South Korea's east coast in 1975. So far, three former shipmates have returned to South Korea in recent years.
"I am overwhelmed with joy and my heart is beating since I came to know that my younger brother is still alive," Yoon's elder brother Yoon Joo-seung told The Associated Press.
Yoon is among 480 South Korean civilian abductees, mostly fishermen, who are believed still alive in the North.
Besides the civilian abductees, South Korea also estimates that 560 soldiers from the 1950-53 Korean War are still alive in the North. North Korea denies holding any prisoners of war, and claims that civilians voluntarily defected.
In a departure from a decade of liberal rule, new conservative South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has asked North Korea to consider sending home prisoners of war and captured civilians in return for receiving humanitarian aid from Seoul.


Updated : 2021-04-20 16:32 GMT+08:00