Sixteen non-Korean descendants of independence patriots were granted South Korean citizenship Monday, days ahead of the 69th anniversary of the country’s independence from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule, Justice Ministry officials said.
Liberation Day is celebrated annually on Aug. 15 to commemorate Allied forces’ victory in World War II, which liberated Korea from Japan’s colonial rule. The South Korean government was created three years later on Aug. 15, 1948, when Syngman Rhee was sworn in as the inaugural president.
The Ministry of Justice allowed a total of 16 foreign nationals ― descendants of independence fighters who contributed to Korean independence ― to become naturalized citizens here.
Among the awardees are David Jonathan Linton, a grandson of the late American missionary William Linton who devoted most of his life to exposing Japan’s brutal colonial rule to the outside world, the officials said.
The elder Linton, who came to Korea in 1912 as a Christian missionary, led an uprising of teachers in 1919 while serving as the headmaster at a school and constantly appealed for international attention to the circumstances in Korea at Christian assemblies in the United States, according to the ministry.
“My grandfather would have been so happy if he saw that Korea developed so much in such a short period of time,” the younger Linton was quoted by a ministry official as saying. “I will do my best to make contributions to Korean society.”
The South Korean government selects and honors foreign descendants of independence heroes each year. A total of 908 foreign nationals have obtained South Korean passports since 2006, ministry officials said. (Yonhap)