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