TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

6 detained South Koreans return from North

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, 9:24 p.m.
 

SEOUL — Six South Korean men accused by North Korea of illegal entry — and a woman's corpse — returned home across the Demilitarized Zone on Friday, an unexpected gesture thought by Seoul to be an attempt to improve frayed relations and revive money-making projects.

Pyongyang said the men, who ranged from 27 to 67, had illegally entered North Korea, and that the South Korean woman died in a quarrel with her husband, one of the men who had crossed the border, according to an official with the South's Unification Ministry. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of office rules, said the claim would be investigated.

Although officials did not talk about the men's identities or motivations, some speculation in Seoul focused on the possibility that they were Christian missionaries — many of whom help defectors along the China-North Korea border.

The men were handed over to South Korean intelligence officials to determine how they ended up in the North. It's a crime for South Koreans to travel to the North without government permission.

South Koreans occasionally try to enter the North, but many more North Koreans defect to the South because of poverty or political persecution.

Seoul estimates that hundreds of South Koreans have been kidnapped and detained by North Korea since the Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, in 1953.

Some analysts in Seoul considered the men's release to be conciliatory: Pyongyang's abruptly canceled last month reunions of families separated by the war.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Pope: Priests in Holy Year can absolve ‘sin of abortion’
  2. Officer killed in Ukraine clash with nationalist protesters
  3. Hezbollah support deepens trash crisis in Lebanon
  4. 5 killed in western India as demonstrators riot
  5. Japan law to implement mandate for hiring of women
  6. Beirut protests grow as summer garbage crisis lingers
  7. Egypt, sans parliament for more than 3 years, sets elections
  8. Fire at Saudi oil company residence kills 11
  9. China’s WWII parade of military might stirs up Taiwan, others in Asia
  10. European Union struggles for answers as migrant influx raises tensions