North Korea offer condolences to South for Sewol Ferry disaster

North Korean message of condolence comes after criticism of South Korea's initial response
April 23rd, 2014

North Korea on Wednesday offered condolences to South Korea for the April 16 Sewol ferry sinking, South’s Ministry of Unification (MOU) said.

The Red Cross Society of North Korea sent a message to its southern counterpart offering commiserations for the sinking, which is now the largest maritime disaster in South Korea’s history.

A message was sent bearing the name of the Chief of the North Korea Red Cross, Kang Su-rin, addressed to President of the South Korean Red Cross, Yoo Jung-keun, the MOU said on Wednesday.

The Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) issued a brief article titled, “Sympathy to S. Korean Red Cross”, in which it confirmed the delivery of the message.

“The message expressed deep sympathy as regards the sinking of the ferry “Sewol” in the waters off Jin Island, South Jolla Province on April 16 claiming many casualties including young schoolchildren and leaving many persons missing,” the article said.

The North Korean message of condolence comes a week after the Sewol first sank and capsized in waters off the south of the peninsula with 476 people aboard – 339 of whom were high school students and teachers.

South Korean authorities were initially able to rescue 174 people on Wednesday but have since confirmed at least 150 fatalities, with the remaining 152 missing and presumed to be dead as well.

North Korea’s previous mentions of the Sewol disaster came earlier this week from state and pro-DPRK outlets, with the first being a brief news report issued by Korea Central News Agency on April 19.

Subsequent coverage from North Korea focused on criticizing the South Korean government’s response to the incident, with state run television network KCTV and the national Rodong Sinmun newspaper complaining about the slow nature of the rescue.

North Korean propaganda website Uriminzokkiri also carried a report criticizing the South Korean government’s response to the incident.

“All classes in South Chosun (Korea) claim the responsibility, for this incident lies fully on the incompetence of the current government,” the report said.

South Korea has yet to respond to the message.

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

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About the Author

Hamish Macdonald

Hamish Macdonald is an NK News contributor and has previously worked at The Korea Herald and for the Australia Centre for Independent Journalism in Sydney.

Join the discussion

  • Frank Feinśtein

    KCNA just chimed in on this “Sympathy to S. Korean Red Cross”

  • Henry

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    • Jim

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  • Dan

    It is nice they offered condolences, but how can they criticize when they chose to hold on to stubbornness and not offer to help with the response themselves?

    • hi

      Doubt S Korea would’ve accepted anyways; even Japan Coast Guard and US helicopter were rejected by the SK Navy.

      • Dan

        Interesting. I wonder why, although now it is too late to matter.

  • James Warden

    How come all these reporters cant do research and only cut and paste? The coast guard rejected everyone because they had a contract with a private company. This means the company can send the bill to the government at an exorbant amount.

  • James Warden

    It wasnt North Korea.. it was the red cross in north korea. Are you saying north korea is run by tge red cross?