South Koreans Receive Threats in Iraq: Official
South Koreans in Iraq have become the target of threats by Iraqis, the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry said on Thursday.
In a briefing, Lee Kwang-jae, director of the ministrys Middle East and African Affairs Bureau, said, ``A South Korean diplomat stationed there was recently kidnapped by two Iraqis and told to leave their country before being released.
Lee said that the branch office of KOTRA, the state-funded trade promoter, was shot at last August, while an employee of a Korean conglomerate there received a threat in the mail.
The middle east expert, who will depart for Iraq as deputy leader of the second Korean survey team today, said that he will do his best to come up with an objective report that will help determine the nature and size of a military contingent to be sent to Iraq.
Seoul has recently decided to send troops to Iraq, as requested by the United States, but the decision is facing strong public opposition. These incidents are likely to add to the opposition against sending troops to Iraq.
He said that his team is planning to make a stopover at Mosul, northern Iraq, where ROK troops will most likely be stationed.
The recent admission contradicts earlier evidence from defense officials as to the reception South Korean combat troops would receive in the war-torn country adding weight to anti-deployment activists' arguments about the safety of such a move.
Seo Soo-min Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org