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Foreign Ministry criticized for delay in conveying foreign governments’ condolences to Roh’s family

A funeral procession for late former President Roh Tae-woo is under preparation at the Seoul National University Hospital early Saturday morning. (Yonhap)
A funeral procession for late former President Roh Tae-woo is under preparation at the Seoul National University Hospital early Saturday morning. (Yonhap)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is facing criticism for allegedly delaying the delivery of remarks of mourning issued from leaders of other countries upon the death of former President Roh Tae-woo.

The Foreign Ministry officially delivered the statements to the bereaved family of Roh on Monday, days after remarks started flying in from global leaders after Roh’s death on Oct. 26. Remarks of condolences came from leaders of China, Japan and Vietnam, the ministry said.

Ministry spokesperson Choi Young-sam told reporters Tuesday the ministry intended to collect the remarks until they are fully received to collectively deliver them to Roh’s close aides and family members, adding the statements came on Friday, over the weekend and Monday morning.

Local media outlets reported Roh’s family members came to realize that condolences were offered by Chinese leader Xi Jinping only after talking over the phone with Chinese Ambassador to Korea Xing Haiming.

Choi added the ministry delivered the whereabouts and contents of the statements to Roh’s family on Monday and that the bereaved family also received copies of the messages via email.

A ministry official told reporters that such remarks are categorized as official diplomatic documents exchanged between countries, which does not require official proceedings in being delivered and made available to the public.

The same process was undertaken in delivering mourning statements to the aides of former President Kim Young-sam when he passed away in 2015, Choi added.

The ministry emphasized the delay does not count as a diplomatic miscue.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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