More than 70 years after the Jeju Massacre, its victims were finally recognized
In April 1948, more than 10,000 people in South Korea were massacred in Jeju Island. The country’s authorities have finally apologized over the killings over seven decades later.
“The [South Korean] defense ministry expresses deep regret and condolences to the Jeju people who were sacrificed in the process of a crackdown,” said the official statement, making it the first message of the country’s Defense Ministry for the victims.
The Defense Ministry said the incident was an armed revolt which was ended by the government through the deploying police and military forces. Aside from killing over 10,000 people, around 3,600 went missing, and 2,530 were convicted.
“We promise to be an organization that only thinks about and works for Korean citizens so that a tragedy like this will never repeat in our future,” said Commissioner General of Korean National Police Agency, Min Gap-ryong, adding that they were deeply sorry for the lives that were sacrificed.
Jeju Memorial Park | Marie
In January this year, the country’s court also dismissed the charges of more than a dozen massacre survivors.
Furthermore, a national ceremony was held to honor the victims. Last year, President Moon Jai-in also issued an apology to the victims and promised to support them in every way.
The apology came after the left-leaning president’s statement that he wanted to set the country’s history right. Moon has also started talks between Pyongyang and Washington and has spoken that the struggle against the colonial rule of Japan is the heart of the country’s national identity.
Additionally, he became the first South Korean president in more than 10 years to attend the memorial ceremony on Jeju which happens annually.
“Young people who were falsely accused of being communists during the April 3 Incident defended their country in the face of death. Ideology was nothing more than a cause that justified the massacre,” he stated.
The Jeju Massacre remains as one of the most controversial events in South Korea and Asia news, together with other events that took place after the war.