S. Korea pledges support for France

November 16, 2015
French citizens and Koreans gather in front of the French Embassy in Seodaemun District, western Seoul, Saturday, to offer condolences to victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris, and their families. (Yonhap)

French citizens and Koreans gather in front of the French Embassy in Seodaemun District, western Seoul, Saturday, to offer condolences to victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris, and their families. (Yonhap)

Seoul issues travel warning

By Rachel Lee

The Korean government has joined the international community in condemning the terrorist attacks on Paris that killed at least 120 people.

President Park Geun-hye sent a message to French President Francois Holland on Saturday offering her condolences and pledging support for their anti-terror efforts, before heading for the G20 summit in Turkey.

“I join the people of Korea in conveying deep condolences,” Park said in the message posted on the Cheong Wa Dae website. “Terrorism is an uncivilized and inhumane criminal act that can neither be justified nor condoned under any circumstances.”

The President also voiced Korea’s strong support for the French government’s efforts to eradicate terrorist threats and pledged to participate in international efforts.

“The attacks this time are not just on France but on the entire international community,” the President said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) posted on its website to extend its deepest condolences and sympathy for the bereaved families and say it would “(pray) for the souls of the innocent victims.”

“The government of the Republic of Korea is shocked and outraged by the atrocious incident, where large numbers of people were killed in the simultaneous multiple terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, and strongly condemns the terrorist acts,” the ministry said.

According to the foreign ministry Sunday, no Koreans were hurt or killed in the attacks. About 14,000 Koreans live in France, including 9,000 in Paris.

The Korean government has been on alert for possible additional terrorist attacks in France.

After the bombings and hostage siege, the foreign ministry held an emergency meeting to check the security of Korean nationals in France and the situation there.

“The safety of our people is the priority,” said Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn during the meeting. “We must tighten security in our own country in key facilities and border control to stem any possible terror acts in the country.”

On the same day, the ministry also issued a second-level travel warning that restricts travel around Paris and Ile-de-France and a first “attention”-level alert for other parts of the country.

Under the four-tier travel advisory system, the lowest alert level is blue, followed by yellow, then red, then black. A black alert is the highest warning level, advising people to refrain from traveling to the affected region.

The ministry announced on its website that Korean nationals living in or visiting Paris or Ile-de-France should be mindful of their safety and that those planning to go to the area need to “think carefully about the visit before leaving.”

Korean police strengthened security patrols around the French embassy as well as schools. Other foreign missions also tightened safety procedures.

At least 120 people were killed and more than 350 wounded on Friday when Islamic State militants launched suicide bombings and machine-gun attacks in the French capital. The terrorists hit a concert hall, a major stadium, restaurants and bars.

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