North Korean Student Missing After Kidnap Attempts in France
D-Bo , Nov. 21, 2014, 9:21 a.m.
The Foreign Ministry is trying to confirm French reports that a young North Korean studying in Paris remains missing after escaping from agents who tried to bring him back to the North. The ministry said on Thursday that it is "assessing the situation and taking necessary measures" in close cooperation with French authorities.
According to French media, the North Korean student, surnamed Han, had been attending the prestigious Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Architecture de Paris-La Villette after being invited to study there by the French government in 2011. Early this month he was seized and bundled to the airport by a team of North Korean agents but managed to escape and went into hiding.
There are rumors that Han is the son of an aide to executed North Korean eminence grise Jang Song-taek, and that his father was purged along with other supporters, making him guilty by association. But a government source here was unable to confirm that.
Jang, the once powerful uncle of the North's leader Kim Jong-un, was executed in December of last year after being found guilty of treason and his supporters purged. Diplomatic sources said North Korea merely added to the endless string of reasons for international condemnation by trying to kidnap someone on foreign soil.