August 12, 2010 11:08
The pastor Han Sang-ryeol will return to South Korea through the truce village of Panmunjom on Aug. 15, the Liberation Day, North Korea officially told South Korea on Wednesday. Han embarked on an unauthorized visit to the North on June 12.
The North Korean Red Cross in a message said Han is returning "at his own request.""We hope the South Korean Red Cross will tell the agency concerned so that it can take the necessary steps for his safe return from a humanitarian viewpoint."
But a South Korean security official said Han "praised the North but criticized our government, touring Pyongyang, Kaesong, Mt. Baekdu, and Mt. Kumgang. It seems that he is attempting to wind up his 'pilgrimage' to the North by attracting the world's attention to Panmunjom."
Prosecutors have decided to arrest him on return on charges of violating the Inter-Korean Exchanges and Cooperation Law by making an unauthorized visit to the North and the National Security Law by openly praising the North Korean regime.
A Cheong Wa Dae official said, "To avoid needless controversy, we're going to take him in as quietly as possible."
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