60 Sakhalin Koreans return to their permanent residence, 261 are expected to enter the country this year...Overseas Koreans' Office to Host First Welcome Event

오재경 Oh Jae-Gyung
13 May 2024

60 Koreans and their descendants, who moved to Sakhalin due to forced labor during the Japanese occupation, were forever held in their dream home country.

The compatriots, who left Sakhalin and returned to Korea permanently on a passenger ship from Vladivostok, Russia, entered the port through the international passenger terminal at Donghae Port in Gangwon Province on the afternoon of the 11th. 

Sakhalin's compatriots, including Hwang Soon-nam (85), the oldest of the compatriots returning to Korea, have visited their homeland for a long time in Sakhalin, the "land of Eastern soil."

A total of 261 Sakhalin Koreans and their descendants were selected for permanent residency and settlement assistance in 2023. After 16 ethnic Koreans and their descendants entered the country en masse on April 27, 60 will enter the country en masse this time. The remaining 185 will enter the country individually.

The Overseas Korean Agency (Director Lee Ki-chul) and the Korean Red Cross (Chairman Kim Cheol-soo), which are carrying out the project to return to permanent residence, warmly welcomed Sakhalin Koreans at the international passenger terminal.

Choi Young-han, deputy head of the Overseas Korean Agency, waited for the ship and entered the arrival hall and held Hwang Soon-nam's hand and appeared at the welcoming ceremony.

In his welcoming speech, Deputy Chief Choi said, "I don't know how far your hometown felt and how excited you must have felt while you were coming from the ferry for 24 hours due to the blockage of the sky," and comforted, "My country will always be by your side from now on so that you don't feel lonely alone."

"Our government, which fulfills its national responsibilities, will do its best to ensure that Sakhalin Koreans who returned to their hometowns in the blooming spring can settle down well in their homeland," he promised.

Park Jong-sul, secretary-general of the Korean Red Cross, and Lee Jae-young, director of the East Sea Regional Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Agency, were also present at the welcoming ceremony held for the first time since the launch of the Overseas Korean Administration (June 5).

According to the "Special Act on Support for Sakhalin Koreans," the Overseas Korean Administration is implementing projects to support the permanent return and settlement of compatriots and their accompanying families who moved to Sakhalin due to forced mobilization of Japanese colonial era but did not return to their homeland after liberation.


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