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U.S. finds facts on N. Korea’s alleged kidnapping of college student

U.S. finds facts on N. Korea’s alleged kidnapping of college student

Posted February. 07, 2017 07:04,   

Updated February. 07, 2017 07:12


U.S. finds facts on N. Korea’s alleged kidnapping of college student
It was confirmed on Monday that the Trump administration recently began to investigate on the alleged kidnapping of American student David Sneddon to North Korea in 2004 behind closed doors. If the U.S. administration acknowledges the fact that North Korea abducted an American citizen after the investigation, it would make a huge ripple on the relationship between the U.S. and North Korea. Abductees’ Choi Sung-yong, the head of the Abductees' Family Union, said that he met with U.S. government officials at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul at the end of last year and talked about details on how Mr. Sneddon was kidnapped and how Kim was able to obtain related information. He also said that he was asked to testify before Congress about the abduction of Mr. Sneddon. According to Mr. Choi, the U.S. embassy told him that the U.S. government has already listed Mr. Sneddon as missing and plans to terminate his current missing status and officially announce that he was kidnapped to North Korea once the investigation is complete and facts are confirmed.

In September last year, the U.S. and U.K. media quoted Mr. Choi to report that Mr. Sneddon turned up alive in North Korea after being kidnapped to serve as Kim Jong Un’s personal English tutor in August 2004 while he was traveling Yunnan province, China. Since then, both the Senate and the House of Representatives of the U.S. passed a resolution urging action to find out what happened to Sneddon. North Korea strongly denied kidnapping him.

It is said that the U.S. embassy has been requested Mr. Choi the current state of Mr. Sneddon and further information to decisively confirm‎ his identity up until now. According to North Korean sources, Sneddon has been relocated to Mt. Myohyang and is under special surveillance after foreign press reports, and was spotted at the Chosun Red Cross Hospital and Pongsu Church in Pyongyan before being relocated.

According to Choi, sources in North Korea told him that then North Korean leader Kim Jong Il made a special order in 2004 to find a tutor to teach English and American culture to his children. Sources also said that the overseas political dissident division of the State Security Department and staffs deployed to Myanmar kidnapped Sneddon and brought him to Pyongyang in October 2004.

Now, Mr. Sneddon goes by the Korean name Yoon Bong Soo and he is married to a woman named Kim Eun Hae and they have two children, a boy and a girl. Mr. Choi argued that such a story was revealed by a person who was involved in the kidnapping of Mr. Sneddon and he confessed Mr. Choi’s North Korean source before he was dead.

Wan-Jun Yun zeitung@donga.com