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Sep 17, 2010

South Korea sends aid to North as reunions to resume

PAJU, South Korea (Reuters) – A convoy of South Korean trucks carrying the first rice aid to North Korea in three years crossed the peninsula’s heavily armed border on Friday in the latest of a series of conciliatory moves between the rivals.

At the same time, officials from both countries met in the North Korean border town of Kaesong and agreed to resume next month reunions of families split by the Korean War. Reunions had been halted after the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

Sep 17, 2010

South Korea sends aid to North, talks start on reunions

PAJU, South Korea (Reuters) – A convoy of South Korean trucks carrying the first rice aid to North Korea in three years crossed the peninsula’s heavily armed border on Friday in the latest of a series of conciliatory moves between the rivals.

At the same time, officials from both countries met in the North Korean border town of Kaesung to discuss the resumption of reunions of families split by the Korean War which were halted after the sinking of a South Korean warship earlier this year.

Nov 13, 2009
via Photographers' Blog

Surrounded by demonstrations in South Korea

Photo

It was October, 1990 when I was on a street in central Seoul for the first times as a news photographer. My first job: to cover an anti-government demonstration by students and workers. Protected by a helmet and gas mask, I shot pictures with a Nikon FM2 without the help of a motor drive. It was a battle. The protesters, hundreds of them, had steel bars, stones and petrol bombs. They were forced back by riot police, armed with tear gas, heavy sticks and hard-edged shields.It was in those last days of the country’s period of autocratic rule, riots and mayhem had become almost daily routine. Sometimes, the photographers, including me, were victims of attack from both sidesBy 1997, news photography had become my full-time job. By then too, South Korea had a democratic government in power and major protests were less common. When they did happen, the tear gas may have gone but the tactics were tough and people got hurt. But now there was public opinion to worry about. There was an unwritten rule that members of the media should not be attacked.This year, things changed again.In May, I was covering a rally against the government of President Lee Myung-bak, an ex-businessman who had taken office in February 2008, promising pro-business reforms to set the economy on a new path of growth.Thousands of people rallied in the capital’s center against his policies and to mark the mass protests a year earlier against his government’s decision to allow imports of U.S. beef.One evening, I saw several policemen using force on a local newspaper photographer. She was shooting protesters being detained by police. Suddenly, an officer ordered his men to detain me. I asked what I had done wrong. The response was to drag me away from the scene, kicking me and using some pepper spray. I was let go after about half an hour, still without explanation for what I might have done wrong.Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Choi Youn-seckAfter protests, a police officer came to my company’s office to apologize.A little later, one of my friends told me that I was partly to blame and should not have argued with the police. I was quite shocked. Would the same treatment be meted out to a text reporter standing there with a notebook and pen?A photographer’s job is to get the photo. He or she must get into the fray and, in the process, risk getting hurt. But it is reasonable to expect not to be a target of any violence, especially by the enforcers of the law, when photographers are just doing their job. Isn’t it?

    • About Lee

      "Lee Jae-Won studied Hungarian language and journalism in South Korea before beginning his photographic career in 1997. He has been Reuters’ Korea chief photographer in Seoul since 2002. He has covered a range of stories from the daily news, features, finance and earthquake disaster to big sport events like the Olympic Games and World Cup in various countries such as Japan, Vietnam, South Africa, China and North Korea. He has a keen interest in covering multimedia production, features and social issues."
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