Exclusive: Embassy in SK in all-out effort handling Chinese nationals’ deaths in tragic stampede
By GT staff reporters Published: Oct 31, 2022 09:04 PM
Police and rescuers are treating the injured and dealing with the victims at the stampede site in Seoul’s Itaewon Halloween crowd crush, South Korea. Photo: People’s Daily’s Weibo account
The Chinese Embassy in South Korea told the Global Times on Monday that the embassy is making an all-out effort handling the cases of at least four Chinese nationals killed in Saturday’s tragic stampede, which has killed at least 155 people. As of Monday night, 152 people are injured and are under treatment, of which 30 are seriously injured, according to China Central Television (CCTV).
The embassy immediately launched an emergency response mechanism after the incident, quickly getting in contact with the families of the four victims and the injured to provide assistance and asking the South Korean side to do its best in the rescue and redress work and to find out the cause as soon as possible, Deng Qiong, Consular Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in South Korea, told the Global Times on Monday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolence Sunday to South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol over the stampede. In his message, Xi said he was shocked to learn of the stampede. On behalf of the Chinese government and people, Xi extended deep condolences over the deaths and sincere sympathies to the bereaved families and the injured, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
Several Chinese citizens were unfortunately killed or injured in the accident, Xi said, expressing his hope that the South Korean side will make every effort to treat those injured and handle the follow-up matters properly.
On the same day, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also sent a message of condolence to South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo.
Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming formed a working group overnight and is keeping in close contact with various departments in South Korea, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Police Agency, to confirm the casualties of the Chinese nationals. Xing has urged South Korea to do its best to rescue the injured and deal with the aftermath, and find out the cause of the accident as soon as possible, according to Deng.
The embassy promptly made contact with the families of the dead and the injured, extending condolences and sympathy and providing them with assistance. It also searched for information and clues from Chinese citizens asking for help through various social media platforms and student associations, and posted safety reminders to Chinese nationals in South Korea on its official website and WeChat account. It has kept the media informed of the progress.
The embassy will continue to closely follow the progress and make all-out efforts to carry out its emergency response, Deng said.
Xing on Monday went to the memorial altar set up at Seoul Plaza to pay tribute to the victims, saying the Chinese side is working with the South Korean government to do the rescue and redress work to the best of their ability.
The Chinese side is paying high attention to the stampede tragedy in Itaewon and is working with the South Korean side in an all-out effort to rescue and assist Chinese citizens, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian at a Monday press conference, warning Chinese citizens overseas not to go to crowded places and to immediately seek help from local police and Chinese embassies in case of emergency.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol announced a period of national mourning on Sunday after the deadly stampede in Seoul’s Itaewon, as huge crowds packed into a cramped nightlife district to celebrate Halloween. Of the victims, 26 were foreigners.