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(EDITORIAL from Korea JoongAng Daily on Sept. 29)

North Korea 07:09 September 29, 2020

Only defending Kim Jong-un

One of our citizens was brutally killed by North Korean soldiers, and yet pro-government figures are hellbent on praising North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The incident was cruel beyond forgiveness as the North Korean military shot down a civilian, who was swept into the North Korean waters, and burned his corpse. The official from the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries fell into the sea during fishing inspection and was discovered by North Korean military 30 kilometers (17 miles) into the North Korean waters.

He was unarmed and fatigued. North Korea should have rescued him according to international norms. Kim Jong-un sent a rare apology three days after he was murdered. He apologized after a person was killed. Rhyu Si-min, head of the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation and an avid pro-government advocate, called Kim an "enlightened monarch." He has added fuel to the hearts of the South Korean people outraged by the North Korean atrocities.

Upon hearing the news about Kim's letter while on YouTube, Rhyu praised the "fast apology" and likened him to an enlightened ruler. Jeong Se-hyun — deputy chair of the presidential National Unification Advisory Council — appeared on Rhyu's show agreed and called Kim "big-minded." Jeong also agreed to North Korea's reasoning that what was burnt was not a body but rather, the materials left by him.

The comment came from someone who had been the unification minister of South Korea. The guests in the show all responded with approval of the message from North Korea. How can they side with the killers of a South Korean citizen? Unification Minister Lee In-young joined the chorus by commenting that it was "rare" for a North Korean leader to "say sorry twice."

Apology is not the essence. Whether he ordered the shooting or not, Kim Jong-un is responsible for the killing. The Seoul city government must demand an investigation into and punishment of those responsible — instead of praising him for merely making an apology. The military and government have done nothing to save a South Korean citizen. The president has been fast asleep.

The government must seriously remunerate what wrong it has committed. It must not try to strike a deal with North Korea while sacrificing civilians. It must do its upmost to prevent such a mishap from occurring again.
(END)

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