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Arrest warrants issued for 4 college students for breaking into U.S. envoy's residence

Diplomacy 21:46 October 21, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 21 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul court issued warrants to arrest four progressive college students on Monday on charges of breaking into the U.S. ambassador's residence.

Seventeen members of a progressive college student group used ladders to climb over the wall of the residence of U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris in central Seoul on Friday.

They were protesting Washington's call for Seoul to sharply raise its share of the cost for the upkeep of the 28,500-strong U.S. troops in South Korea.

All 17 students were quickly taken to police stations, and police sought arrest warrants for nine of them.

After reviewing the results of a preliminary probe, prosecutors formally requested the court permit the arrest of four of them.

At the time of the break-in, the residence was vacant, as Amb. Harris and his wife were attending a reception hosted by President Moon Jae-in at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

Seoul and Washington plan to hold another round of negotiations this week on how much Seoul will pay next year and beyond for the stationing of American troops on South Korean soil.

Media reports have said Washington wants South Korea to pay US$5 billion under next year's cost-sharing deal, up from 1.04 trillion won ($883 million) this year.

The U.S. Embassy urged South Korea to strengthen its efforts to protect all diplomatic missions. It voiced "strong concern" that the break-in was the second illegal entry into the ambassador's residential compound in 13 months.

Members of a progressive association of South Korean university students stage a protest inside the residence of U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris in Seoul on Oct. 18, 2019, in this photo captured from the group's Facebook account. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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