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S. Korea's defense ministry issues first official apology for April Third Jeju Incident Updated: 2019-04-03 19:05:13 KST

It's been over seven decades since nearly 30-thousand people were killed in a horrific massacre on Jeju Island, including newborns, pregnant women and the elderly. The killings took place over a span of seven years wiping out around ten percent of Jeju's entire population at the time.

And on Wednesday, the vice minister of defense, Suh Choo-suk, visited the memorial space set up at Seoul's Gwanghwamun Plaza to pay respects to the victims.

"We are extremely sorry. We will do our best to join the government's efforts to find truth, restore the honor of the victims and heal the wounds of the bereaved families."

Earlier the defense ministry itself delivered an official apology and acknowledged the sacrifices of Jeju's residents.
A ministry official said the defense ministry agrees with the legislative act recognizing that civilians were killed in civil disturbances and armed conflicts with the military that began on the 3rd of April, 1948.

That law was enacted in 1999, but problems still linger regarding compensation for the victims and the bereaved families.
The survivors, too, have suffered immense trauma, after being labeled communists, and being forced to stay silent about it for decades.

"The government should promptly restore the honor of those falsely accused and get rid of this grudge that's held against their decendents."

Both the ruling and opposition parties gathered together to talk about revising the special act to compensate the victims and their relatives.
Cha Sang-mi, Arirang News.
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