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Defense ministry asks U.N. Command to share surveillance footage in N.K. fishermen repatriation case

All News 10:26 August 04, 2022

SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- The defense ministry has requested the United Nations Command to provide its surveillance camera footage showing two North Korean fishermen being repatriated across the inter-Korean border in 2019, a lawmaker's office said Thursday.

The footage is said to show the North Koreans being taken back to the North Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjom, which was taken from a different angle from that of a video released by the unification ministry last month.

The ministry's video showed one of the fishermen resisting being pulled across the Military Demarcation Line, sparking criticism the then government of President Moon Jae-in sent them back against their will even after they expressed a desire to defect to South Korea.

The Moon government said at the time it determined their defection desire as insincere as they had confessed to killing 16 fellow crew members, and deported them because criminals are not subject to government protection.

"Photos and a video clip released by the unification ministry confirm the North Korean fishermen were forcibly repatriated against their will," Rep. Tae Yong-ho, a defector-turned-lawmaker of the ruling People Power Party, said.

Tae said the U.N. Command's video, if released, will help reveal the truth.

This file photo, provided by the Ministry of Unification on July 12, 2022, shows a North Korean fisherman (C, in gray), who was captured near the eastern inter-Korean sea border, resisting as he is handed over to North Korean authorities in the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom in November 2019. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

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