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World leaders offer condolences following Itaewon Halloween crisis

By Im Eun-byel

Published : Oct. 30, 2022 - 07:53

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Rescue workers respond to the tragedy at Itaewon, central Seoul on Saturday. (Yonhap) Rescue workers respond to the tragedy at Itaewon, central Seoul on Saturday. (Yonhap)


In the hours following the news of a massive  crowd crush amid Halloween celebrations in Itaewon, central Seoul, overnight, world leaders expressed their condolences to South Korea and its people.

The US government said it stands with Korea as it mourns the tragedy.

"Jill and I send our deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones in Seoul. We grieve with the people of the Republic of Korea and send our best wishes for a quick recovery to all those who were injured," a statement by US President Joe Biden read.

"The United States stands with the Republic of Korea during this tragic time," it added.

US Ambassador to Korea Philip Goldberg offered his condolences.

“I’m devastated by the tragic loss of life in Itaewon last night. Please know my thoughts, and those of our team at US Embassy Seoul, are with the Korean people and especially the loved ones of those who perished, as well as the many injured in this catastrophic incident,” he wrote in the message.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also shared his grief.

“We were deeply saddened to learn of the deadly stampede today in Seoul. We send our thoughts and deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased and injured, as well as to the people of the ROK as they mourn this horrific tragedy,” Blinken wrote on Twitter.

“The reports out of Seoul are heartbreaking. We are thinking about all those who lost loved ones and hoping for a quick recovery for those injured. The United States stands ready to provide the Republic of Korea with any support it needs,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan wrote via Twitter.

Leaders from Europe expressed sorrow after hearing about the tragedy as well.

"Horrific news from Seoul tonight," UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wrote on Twitter. "All our thoughts are with those currently responding and all South Koreans at this very distressing time."

"I offer my condolence to the Seoul residents and further people of Korea with the event at Itaewon. France is on your side," French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.

Leaders across Asia mourned the tragedy with Korea.

"I am shocked by the loss of many precious lives, including those of young people with a future ahead of them," Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said through the government, highlighting Japan’s solidarity with Korea.

Singapore's leader joined in.

“I was deeply shocked and saddened to hear about the tragic loss of lives during a stampede at a Halloween event in Seoul. Many of the victims were teenagers and young people, and many are injured, some seriously,” Singaporean President Halimah Yacob wrote on Twitter.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the people of South Korea during this difficult time, and I wish a quick and fully recovery to all those who are injured,” she added.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com