[Marxism] AP: "Alleged U.S. Deserter Won't Leave N. Korea "...

David Quarter davidquarter at sympatico.ca
Sat May 22 21:54:18 MDT 2004

[All those years in N. Korea must have made him adverse to 
freedom and all the other western niceties ]


Alleged U.S. Deserter Won't Leave N. Korea 

Sat May 22, 1:32 PM ET  

By ERIC TALMADGE, Associated Press Writer 

PYONGYANG, North Korea - Nearly 40 years ago, Charles Robert 
Jenkins allegedly deserted his U.S. Army unit to start a new life in 
North Korea (news - web sites). He taught English, acted in 
propaganda films, married a woman 20 years his junior and had 
two daughters. 

Then, two years ago, his life started to fall apart. 

In an unprecedented summit with Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro 
Koizumi, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il admitted in September 
2002 that Jenkins' wife, Hitomi Soga, had been abducted and 
brought to the North against her will. With four other abductees, 
she was allowed to return home. 

But what North Korea claimed was supposed to be a short 
homecoming became a prolonged political tug of war, with Tokyo 
refusing to send Soga and the others back, and Pyongyang 
keeping their families virtual hostage. 

For the other families, that saga ended Saturday: Koizumi returned 
for his second summit with Kim and won the freedom of the five 
abductees' North Korea-born children in exchange for 250,000 tons 
of rice and 10 million worth of medical supplies. 

Jenkins, however, refused to leave. 

"Kim said he would leave the decision up to Jenkins," Koizumi said 
after a one-day summit with the reclusive North Korean leader. "I 
met with Jenkins and his daughters for an hour after the summit. 
But I was unable to sway him." 

The fate of Jenkins is a major issue in Japan, mainly because of an 
outpouring of sympathy for his wife, who has lived alone in her 
hometown on a small island since her return one month after the 
2002 summit. 

Before leaving for Pyongyang, Koizumi vowed to bring home all the 
relatives — including Jenkins and his daughters. But officials said 
Jenkins balked at the plan because he fears he would be extradited 
to the United States to face a court martial. 

"We have been forced to give up on bringing them back right 
away," a senior government official traveling with Koizumi said. 
"But we will continue our efforts to reunite them." 

Little is known about Jenkins. 

According to American military officials, he was a 24-year-old 
sergeant when he left a border patrol on the South Korean side of 
the Demilitarized Zone to defect to the North. For defecting, the 
North Korean government gave him a car and a job teaching 
English. Soga was his student. 

Jenkins, a native of Rich Square, N.C., a small town near Raleigh, 
also acted in low-budget propaganda films. In one, he wore a 
skinhead wig to portray an evil American. 

Tokyo has asked Washington to give him special consideration, 
and perhaps a pardon. But U.S. officials, wary of taking such an 
action while soldiers are risking their lives in Iraq (news - web 
sites), have provided no such guarantees. 

"I'm sympathetic from a human point of view," U.S. Ambassador to 
Japan Howard H. Baker Jr. told reporters. "But he's classified as a 

>From the start, Jenkins' position complicated efforts to bring the 
others to Japan. 

Shortly after the repatriation of his wife, he met with a Japanese 
media team in Pyongyang, where he was hospitalized, reportedly 
because of the stress of the separation. He called for his wife to 
return to the North. 


His daughters, Mika, 20, and Belinda, 18, are students at the 
Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies. 

Koizumi suggested that, if Jenkins was afraid of going to Japan, he 
meet to discuss his future with Soga in a third country, such as 

"I hope all four them will be able to be reunited as soon as 
possible," he said. "Jenkins said he welcomed that idea." 

In an optimistic tone before the summit, Soga, whose mother is 
also a suspected abduction victim but remains unaccounted for, 
said she wanted her family to be united and "never separated 

But she added that her daughters would likely face a major culture 
shock were they to join her in Japan. 

"They don't speak much Japanese," she said. "Maybe they could 
say `hello.'" 

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