A South Korean soldier who was captured by North Korea during the Korean War escaped earlier this month, 55 years after being captured.
By Kim Sue-young, Staff ReporterA prisoner of war (POW) escaped from North Korea 55 years after being captured and is currently staying in China awaiting entry to South Korea, the association of abductees' family members said Tuesday.Kim Jin-soo, 74, who fought in the Korean War (1950-53) at the age of 17, crossed the Tumen River on June 14 and is now in China, Choi Sung-yong, leader of the association, told a press conference in Seoul.Choi said Kim was taken to the Stalinist state with a gunshot wound before the armistice was signed in July 1953. The South Korean army reported he was dead and included him in the roll of fallen soldiers.After being dragged to the reclusive state, Kim received medical treatment in Pyongyang and was dispatched to coal mines including the Sanghatan mine in North Pyeongan Province for nearly 40 years. In the early 1990s, he did farming in North Hamgyeong Province, Choi said. - Korea Times
You would think that this would be big news. It is certainly a newsworthy event. When I was young I remember a news report about a Japanese soldier from WWII who finally after 30+ years of hiding, decided to come out and surrender. That was big news. But he was not a prisoner like this poor fellow. And yet, there is close to no coverage at all. Google News only lists the one story by the Korea Times quoted above.
NEWS.com.au also covered the story with "PoW 'escapes after 55 years'" noting that:
North Korea denies holding any South Koreans against their will, though some have managed to escape and come South. - NEWS.com.au
I suspect the lack of coverage is because this guy upsets the real message in that it is President Bush who is the evil leader. Take our detention of suspected terrorists during wartime. There are currently over 14,000 news stories for "Guantanamo bay Cuba detainee" listed in Google News. Clearly, not all prisoners rights are considered equal by the press.
Coverage of this story only brings forward the fact that nobody is pushing North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il to abide by his past agreements and call him to account for his country's rogue behavior. I only found out about this story as it was covered by the Blog One Free Korea in their post "Paroled from Death, Or Worse".
The anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s invasion of South Korea is a fitting time to post about just the latest South Korean prisoner of war to return home after being held in North Korea since a 1953 Armistice agreement in it agreed to return its prisoners. - One Free Korea
I am willing to bet that there are leftists who are not happy that this guy managed to escape. You can tell that there is no excitement in celebrating his escape since he is currently trapped in China and has to beg his own country's President to help get him back home. What a joke. Just imagine the reaction in the US if an American POW all of a sudden shows up in China. And even if the US Government turned it's back on him, there would be no shortage of Korean War vets who would waste no time in getting this guy back, despite being in their 70's themselves. There seems to be no real newsworthy outcry so far from South Korea. I bet that this won't even be an agenda item in the next talks with the North. After all, they have gone as far as admit to kidnapping foreigners, and despite this admission, refuse to release all of them or even provide full details. Still, there is no shortage of useful idiots who still manage to get a seat at the negotiating table, all too willing to overlook over 50 years of criminal behavior because they are the ones who are finally going to get a workable agreement. So I guess I should say shame on us as well.
(Note: The following two paragraphs were written once before here)
If this had been the other way around (A North Korean soldier escaping from South Korea), you can surely bet that the North Koreans would openly be demanding that heads roll, in addition to demanding that the offending (responsible) person be removed from the talks, never to appear again. Too bad that the North Koreans know all too well who they are dealing with. For well over a decade, the US and other parties have been pretty soft-armed when it has come to disciplining North Korea. Another very dangerous problem is that it seems that too many people want to think that the North Koreans actually want a deal. That they are negotiating either in good faith, or at least with a goal towards betterment of their people. Well perhaps a review of the 2 minute extract from the Korean War 'Pork Chop Hill' is in order:
Video - Direct Link
The video makes a number of good points that are still relevant today. One of those is the answer to the question: what does North Korea have to lose by getting caught holding prisoners of war they agreed to release decades ago? Apparently nothing by the looks of the lack of pressure on North Korea to do anything they agreed to as part of the six-party talks. This soldier has at least gotten out of North Korea. What about the rest still trapped there?
North Korean Snipers Killing Refugees Along the Chinese Border - 24 May 08
Most Disturbing Part of North Korea-Syria Connection - 29 Apr 08
Anchor Countries - 27 Sept 07
The UN Cannot Save the North Koreans (So Stop Trying) - 1 Feb 07
Unconditional surrender – The only way to end Military Operations - 1 May 05
Seeing things in Black and white instead of in shades of gray. - 19 Dec 04