One of the biggest holidays for Koreans is the Lunar New Year. This year’s three-day holiday has just finished. Of course, this is true in North Korea as well, although the people will doubtless have been busy preparing for Kim Jong Il’s birthday, which is today. Nevertheless, whenever a big holiday comes up, people get together with family. It is a world-wide convention for all those who can do so. However, one of those groups of people who cannot meet their loved ones, through no fault of their own, are the families of abductees.
Shortly before the Lunar New Year’s holiday, The Daily NK met someone harshly affected by abduction. Hwang In Cheol is the son of an abductee; his father was on a South Korean domestic airplane, YS-11, when it was hijacked by North Korean spy Cho Chang Hee on December 11, 1969.
What follows is an interview with Hwang.
- Please, explain the situation when your father was abducted and your life since then.
When my father was abducted, I was only three years old, so there is, of course, nothing I can remember. However, the fact that my father had been kidnapped and was being held in North Korea was the greatest handicap as I was growing up in South Korea. Losing a big pivot caused me diverse suffering.
However, the person who has suffered from the issue the most is my mother. She is always nervous due to posttraumatic stress disorder and feels the constant fear of the sudden disappearance of family members.
- What do you want to do for your father if you meet him?
My grandmother and eldest aunt passed away a few years ago, while yesterday my eldest uncle was taken to the emergency room, where I visited him. I saw his body grow colder.
Witnessing his death, I really wanted to be with my father, massaging his hands and feet before he passed away. As older relatives in my family pass away, the loss of those who can remember my father make me feel my father’s disappearance.
- What do you want to say as one of the family members of separated families on the Korean Peninsula?
Even if I cannot meet my father while he is alive, I hope I can gather his remains and soothe the pain of all of our families, including my own.
I wish people would take an interest in the abduction issue, but they have a callous attitude towards it. I hope people will cooperate with us to solve this issue.