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Unification Ministry Accused of Using US NGO Head's Remarks Out of Context

Written: 2020-12-23 19:16:31Updated: 2020-12-23 19:19:09

Unification Ministry Accused of Using US NGO Head's Remarks Out of Context

Photo : YONHAP News

The Unification Ministry has been criticized for allegedly using out of context comments by the head of a U.S. nonprofit organization and using the words to defend Seoul’s new legislation that bans anti-Pyongyang leaflet campaigns. 

Carl Gershman, the chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy, which supports human rights activists, said in an interview with Radio Free Asia on Tuesday that he was disappointed by being quoted out of context by the ministry.  

The ministry used some of Gershman’s remarks made during an interview with Voice of America in June, where he questioned the efficacy of such campaigns in providing North Korean residents with outside information. The quote was included in a press release by the ministry last week, a day after the new law was passed by the Cabinet. 

However, during the same VOA interview, Gershman also revealed his critical stance towards Seoul’s move to rein in leaflet campaigns, arguing the real threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula is not leaflets but North Korea's nuclear weapons. 

A senior official at the ministry denied the South Korean government intentionally quoted Gershman out of context.

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