2017-07-19 09:32
American peace activist denied entry to S. Korea
By Park Si-soo

An American who organized a controversial march of 30 female peace activists spanning the two Koreas in 2015 has been denied entry to South Korea.

Christine Ahn, a South Korean-born American citizen, learned about being “persona non grata” after Asiana Airlines stopped her from boarding a flight at San Francisco Airport on Thursday, according to the New York Times (NYT).

She reportedly planned to transit through South Korea’s Incheon International Airport on her way to China. After being told she was not allowed to, she bought a new ticket to fly directly to Shanghai, it reported.

A justice ministry official was quoted as saying in the report that Ahn had been denied entry because there were sufficient grounds to fear she might “hurt the national interest and public safety.”

She told the U.S. newspaper that her denial might be a byproduct of conservative former President Park Geun-hye’s anti-North Korea policy. Park, who is now on trial over corruption charges, took a hard line on the unhinged North while in office, cutting off all economic exchange and even inter-Korean dialogue. Given this, it’s reasonable to assume that Park’s administration had put Ahn on a blacklist for her dovish stance toward the North.

According to the NYT, Ahn’s supporters, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, recently sent letters to Ahn Ho-young, the South Korean ambassador to Washington, urging Seoul to lift the ban on Ahn.

In a speech on July 6, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who replaced Park in May, said his government would push for a peace treaty with North Korea as part of a comprehensive solution to the crisis over the North’s nuclear weapons program.


Related story