6 detained South Koreans return from North
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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Al-Qaida branch in Syria threatens U.S.-backed forces
- Taliban fracture outcome unclear
- Talks fail to yield accord in Pacific
- Vibrantly colored mural spread across 200 homes in central Mexico city
- Comets hold life building blocks
- Bin Laden relatives among crash casualties
- Zimbabwe suspends hunts amid outcry over lion’s death
- Experimental Ebola vaccine could stop virus in West Africa
- Senate to grill United Nations agency chief Amano on Iran nuclear pact