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Yoon suggests possible probe into 2019 repatriation of NK sailors

June 21, 2022 - 10:19 By Yonhap
President Yoon Suk-yeol takes reporters' questions as he arrives at his office in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk-yeol suggested Tuesday his administration could investigate the 2019 repatriation of two North Korean sailors, saying many people have questions about the then government's decision to send them back.

Yoon was referring to the repatriation of two North Korean sailors who tried to defect to South Korea after allegedly killing 16 fellow crew members on a fishing boat, which happened under the previous administration of Moon Jae-in.

"We're still looking into it, but haven't the people had many questions about it from the past?" Yoon said when asked by a reporter whether his government plans to launch an inquiry.

"When someone enters our country, they're considered a citizen of the Republic of Korea under our Constitution, and many of our people find it strange and raise questions about the fact that they were repatriated to the North," he said. "I think they're looking into it. I haven't received a detailed report yet."

The ruling People Power Party has said it plans to launch an investigation into the case.

The renewed interest comes after the Coast Guard and the military announced last week there was no indication a South Korean fisheries official killed and burned at sea by North Korea in 2020 intended to defect to the North, overturning their conclusion under the Moon administration. (Yonhap)