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Foreign Minister seeks equal support for foreign victims of Itaewon disaster

Foreign Minister Park Jin visit a mourning altar for the victims of last weekend`s Halloween crowd crush at Seoul Plaza in central Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)
Foreign Minister Park Jin visit a mourning altar for the victims of last weekend`s Halloween crowd crush at Seoul Plaza in central Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)

Minister of Foreign Affairs Park Jin on Monday said that the government is reviewing ways to provide foreign nationals killed or injured in the Halloween disaster with the same support as Korean nationals.

“(The ministry) is reviewing ways to allow support the same as (measures provided to) Korean nationals to the foreigners injured and killed,” Park said at the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee meeting.

According to Park, the government will see if it can support the fee to transfer the remains of the foreign nationals who passed away at the event to their home countries. It will also try to expand the help to cover those who are staying in Korea without a valid visa.

Park was responding to calls from lawmakers that support measures should not discriminate against foreign nationals. Authorities’ tally of foreign nationals currently stands at 26 dead and 15 injured.

At the meeting, Park said that the Foreign Ministry immediately dispatched employees to Itaewon to assess the situation regarding foreign nationals, and that information including the list of those killed has been shared with foreign diplomatic missions in Korea.

“Foreign Ministry employees have been assigned on a one-on-one basis to (concerned) embassies in Korea,” Park said.

Park added that the ministry will make preparations to aid deceased foreign nationals’ families entering Korea through South Korean diplomatic missions in relevant countries.

At the meeting, lawmakers stressed the need to ensure equal treatment for foreign nationals, and to recognize foreign nationals who helped during the incident.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)  

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