Leftwing Activist Defies Law to Visit N.Korea

      June 14, 2010 11:35

      The Rev. Han Sang-ryeol (center) hugs a North Korean official on arrival at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang on Saturday. /[North] Korean Central News Agency-Yonhap

      A leftwing activist pastor arrived in North Korea on an unauthorized trip Saturday. North Korea's official KCNA news agency said the Rev. Han Sang-ryeol, a "pro-unification activist," was welcomed at Pyongyang airport by members of North Korea's Committee for Implementing the June 15 Joint Declaration led by chairman An Kyong-ho "with compatriotic love."

      According to the KCNA, Han in a statement denounced the South Korean government for going back on the agreement reached during the first inter-Korean summit in 2000. "The adoption of the historic June 15 Joint Declaration was an event that put an end to inter-Korean confrontation and opened an era of peace," he said. "I've come to Pyongyang at the risk of my life to contribute to national reconciliation, peace, and reunification."

      A Unification Ministry official said the visit was unauthorized. "Charges will be brought against him as soon as he returns, because he has violated the law on the inter-Korean exchange and cooperation," he said. "He may also have violated the National Security Law depending what he does there."

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