Two bills proposing changes to language within existing South Korea laws relating to abductions by North Korea have been officially withdrawn, the National Assembly website shows.
The bills, 14846 and 14847, were filed by 12 South Korean lawmakers on August 13 and proposed the removal of references to North Korean involvement in wartime and post-war abductions as well as changing the term “abductee” with “missing persons”.
According to the bills, the changes were being proposed in order to avoid “conflict” with North Korea and to advance inter-Korean ties. The National Assembly website, which tracks legislation, confirmed that both bills were withdrawn on September 11.
When contacted, a representative for the office of the Song Gab-seok – the lawmaker who was the lead on submitting the bills – had the same response to multiple questions on the withdrawal of the proposed legislation.
“We have nothing to comment on it,” the representative repeatedly replied to NK News questions.
The proposed amendments pertained to The Act on Finding the Truth of the Damage from North Korea’s Abduction during the Korean War and Restoring Honor of the Victims and the Law on Compensation and Assistance for Victims Abducted to North Korea since the Conclusion of the Armistice Agreement.
“The current law defines the term ‘a person abducted to North Korea in wartime/abductee’ as a citizen of the Republic of Korea who was residing in South Korea but forcibly kidnapped by North Korea against his/her will during the Korean War and has been detained or has resided in North Korea thereafter,” an introduction to Bill 14846 read.
“However, an expression of ‘a person abducted to North Korea/abductee’ is a term that shows strong resistance from North Korea’s side,” it added. The introduction for the second bill, Bill 14847, is the same, though it concerns post-1953 abductees.
The proposals then claimed that in ministerial and working level meetings with the DPRK, ROK negotiators already use language such as “a person whose news is unknown” in order to avoid issues during talks.
“Accordingly, by changing the term from ‘a person abducted to North Korea/abductee’ to ‘a missing person in wartime’, it is to arrange a legal basis for the ease of the conflict between inter-Korean relations, caused by the legal terminology,” the proposal reads.
In response to the bills, which were filed on August 13, a total of 12 humanitarian organizations issued a joint letter to United Nations officials objecting to the legislation and urging the UN to contact ROK officials over the situation.
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Featured Image: 國會議事堂 by wongwt on 2015-04-06 16:23:12