Korea Herald

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    등록일 : 2009-06-09 오후 3:39:39  조회수 : 615
  58 . Seoul Out to Find Missing Pastor, NK Defectors  
  등록자 : 코리아타임스        파일 :
The Seoul government said on Saturday it is endeavoring to find a Korean-American pastor who has been missing since late last year in a Southeast Asian country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it is making efforts to confirm the report concerning the missing pastor Park Joon-jae, who has been seeking to help North Korean defectors in Yanji, Jilin Province, China, with the help of embassies in the region.

``We will gather all possible information related to the incident and come up with proper measures,’’ a ministry official said.

Park, 63, also known as Jeffrey Park, was helping six North Korean defectors enter South Korea through Myanmar and Thailand, according to the Durihana Missionary Foundation, a Christian support group for the North’s refugees hiding in China

After failing to get support from the South Korean embassy in Myanmar, Park decided to take a detour through Laos and was supposed to meet members of the Foundation on Dec. 30 at the Laos-Myanmar border, said Chun Ki-won, a representative of the Durihana Foundation. Chun said one of the defectors accompanying Park telephoned him on Jan. 16, saying the group was safe in Myanmar with the exception of Park.

``We searched for Park in the border areas with the help of local residents, but failed to find him,’’ the Durihana leader said.

Chun raised two possibilities if Park was caught by Chinese security forces in the areas or drug traffickers operating out of the so-called ``golden triangle zone,’’ the border area of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand. He also didn’t rule out the possibility of Park’s being kidnapped by North Korean agents, like Rev. Kim Dong-shik who was allegedly abducted in 2000.

Park’s wife said the last time she had contact with her husband was on Dec. 27, saying, ``I’m in Myanmar and will go back in a week.’’ She said she reported his disappearance to the U.S. State Department last week.

Park, formerly a businessman in the United States, took up missionary work to assist North Korean defectors in China five years ago.

More than 6,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the Korean War ended in 1953, including over 1,860 last year. Most of the people fleeing the impoverished North do so by taking the circuitous route through Southeast Asia since the land border of the two Koreas, divided since 1945, is sealed off by wire fences, land mines and roughly a million troops as the two sides remain technically at war.

By Jung Sung-ki Staff Reporter

[코리아타임스 2005-01-23 17:33] gallantjung@koreatimes.co.kr



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