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Defense ministry asks UN Command to share surveillance footage in NK fishermen repatriation case

Released photos of two North Korean fishermen’s repatriation at Panmunjom (Ministry of Unification)
Released photos of two North Korean fishermen’s repatriation at Panmunjom (Ministry of Unification)

The defense ministry has requested the United Nations Command to provide its surveillance camera footage showing two North Korean fishermen being repatriated across the inter-Korean border in 2019, a lawmaker's office said Thursday.

The footage is said to show the North Koreans being taken back to the North Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjom, which was taken from a different angle from that of a video released by the unification ministry last month.

The ministry's video showed one of the fishermen resisting being pulled across the Military Demarcation Line, sparking criticism the then government of President Moon Jae-in sent them back against their will even after they expressed a desire to defect to South Korea.

The Moon government said at the time it determined their defection desire as insincere as they had confessed to killing 16 fellow crew members, and deported them because criminals are not subject to government protection.

"Photos and a video clip released by the unification ministry confirm the North Korean fishermen were forcibly repatriated against their will," Rep. Tae Yong-ho, a defector-turned-lawmaker of the ruling People Power Party, said.

Tae said the UN Command's video, if released, will help reveal the truth. (Yonhap)

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