December 15, 2014 13:36
A Korean-American woman at the center of a bizarre kerfuffle over a series of public forums allegedly extolling North Korea was summoned for questioning on Sunday.
Shin Eun-mi (53) reported to Seoul metropolitan police with her lawyer in the afternoon. She seemed unafraid and freely answered questions from reporters.
"I'm baffled and at loss for words. I never thought for one second that I’d be violating the National Security Law or doing something that would be harmful to my home country," Shin said. "I suppose my status as an overseas Korean is a privilege that allows me to serve as a bridge between the two Koreas."
She said she would take the opportunity to visit North Korea again if it came up.
Shin and Hwang Sun, a former member of the now-defunct Democratic Labor Party, staged a series of forums where they allegedly spoke out in favor of North Korea and made claims that have upset defectors, including that a vast percentage of them want to go back to North Korea.
The gist of Shin's contribution seems to have been an account of a package tour to the North, which left her with the impression that things are not as bad as everyone thinks.
Asked why she has since refused to debate the matter with defectors, Shin said, "I'm simply talking about things I saw as a tourist in North Korea. I don't think debating whose version of North Korea is true or not helps reconciliation efforts."
She has been reported as claiming that anyone in North can download TV dramas from the internal Internet and --perhaps less controversially -- that there are affluent people in Pyongyang, and that they have high hopes of the young leader Kim Jong-un.
Some conservative civic groups have filed a complaint against Shin for violating the decades-old National Security Law, which bans rather broadly defined "support for the enemy."
Shin was questioned for seven and a half hours. She said she answered the questions truthfully and denied glorifying North Korea. She will be questioned again on Monday and is banned from leaving the country until Saturday.
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