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Ex-nat'l security adviser denounces N.K. fishermen repatriation probe as politically motivated

National 15:15 February 02, 2023

SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Yonhap) -- A former national security adviser on Thursday denounced the ongoing prosecution probe into the 2019 repatriation of two North Korean fishermen that targets him and other officials of the previous Moon Jae-in government as "politically orchestrated."

Chung Eui-yong, who also served as foreigner minister, made the criticism in a statement issued after he underwent prosecution questioning for two days in a row.

He and other high-level security officials of the Moon administration, including ex-presidential chief of staff Noh Young-min and ex-intelligence chief Suh Hoon, have been accused of involvement in the fishermen's deportation against their will.

In November 2019, the government sent back the fishermen captured near the eastern inter-Korean sea border. The two confessed to killing 16 fellow crew members and expressed a desire to defect, but authorities dismissed their intentions as insincere.

"The probe is something that has been politically orchestrated in accordance with investigation guidelines by the presidential office," Chung protested.

He contended the probe also "completely disregards the reality and duality of inter-Korean relations," and portrayed the deported North Koreans as "heinous criminals."

Their stated wish to defect to the South was insincere, and the government then concluded that they could pose a grave threat to the lives and safety of our people if accepted into the country, he noted.

Chung also criticized the prosecution for reopening the case without clear evidence after concluding its first probe into the repatriation without indictment in 2021.

Former national security adviser Chung Eui-yong (Yonhap)

Former national security adviser Chung Eui-yong (Yonhap)


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