Korean-American anti-THAAD activist barred from entering South Korea

Posted on : 2017-07-25 17:00 KST Modified on : 2017-07-25 17:00 KST
Ministry of Justice says peace activist may pose a threat to South Korean interests or public safety
Members of the US Solidarity Peace Delegation opposing THAAD
Members of the US Solidarity Peace Delegation opposing THAAD

A Korean-American peace activist who wanted to visit South Korea to protest the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system was prohibited from entering the country by the government.

According to the National Campaign to Block the Deployment of THAAD in South Korea, Juyeon Rhee was planning to visit South Korea as the leader of the US Civic Peace Delegation for Cancelling the THAAD Deployment on July 23. But when Rhee tried to check in at LaGuardia Airport in New York on July 22 for a flight bound for Incheon International Airport, she was prevented from boarding. At the end of July 2016, Rhee was not allowed to enter South Korea after flying to Incheon International Airport to protest the THAAD deployment. Between 2004 and 2013, Rhee had traveled between North and South Korea with an education and peace team that she had organized, and last year was the first time she was refused entry to South Korea.

“She has been banned from entering the country on the request of a government institution according to Article 11, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 3 of the Immigration Act,” said an official with the Ministry of Justice when asked about Rhee being denied access to South Korea. That passage of the Immigration Act authorizes the Ministry to refuse entry to “a person deemed highly likely to commit any act detrimental to the interests of the Republic of Korea or public safety.”

On July 18, South Korea‘s National Intelligence Service retracted its opinion that Christine Ahn, a peace activist who attempted to visit South Korea to campaign against THAAD, should be banned from entering the country.

“The ban on Rhee’s entrance to South Korea is a legacy of the Park Geun-hye administration. If the Moon Jae-in administration does not remove the entry ban on Rhee, it will reveal the secrecy of the South Korean government‘s procedures and practices,” said Will Griffin, a member of the delegation and also of American group Veterans for Peace, who entered the country on the afternoon of July 23.

By Kim ji-eun, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

Most viewed articles