World leaders have expressed sadness and condolences after at least 151 people were killed in a crowd surge Saturday night in Seoul, South Korea
By ZEN SOO Associated Press
HONG KONG — World leaders expressed sadness and condolences after at least 151 people were killed in a crowd surge Saturday night in Seoul, South Korea.
The tragedy occurred in Seoul’s Itaewon district during Halloween festivities when a huge crowd surged into a narrow downhill alley. At least 82 others were injured in the South Korea’s deadliest accident in years.
U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden sent their “deepest condolences” to the families of the deceased.
“We grieve with the people of the Republic of Korea and wish for a quick recovery to all those who were injured,” said President Biden in a tweet. “The United States stands with the Republic of Korea during this tragic time.”
Similarly, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described the news from Seoul as “horrific” on Twitter.
“All our thoughts are with those currently responding and all South Koreans at this very distressing time,” Sunak wrote.
Itaewon’s international character was shaped by its proximity to a U.S. military garrison nearby. The area is still home to restaurants, bars and other businesses catering to the American community in Seoul.
U.S. Forces Korea, which commands the sizable American military presence in the country, expressed its condolences in a Facebook post.
“The Itaewon community has opened its arms to us for many years and is part of the reason our Alliance is so strong,” the command said, writing in English and Korean. “During this time of grief, we will be there for you just as you have been there for us.”
Leaders from countries including Japan, France, China and Singapore reacted with shock and sadness over the tragedy in Seoul.
“I’m hugely shocked and deeply saddened by the extremely tragic accident in Itaewon, Seoul, that took many precious lives, including those of young people with their future ahead of them,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a tweet.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron — who tweeted in both French and in Korean — offered support to Seoul residents and South Korea.
“France is with you,” he said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed similar sentiments on Twitter, sending his “deepest condolences” to the people of South Korea “and wishing a fast and full recovery to those who were injured.”
According to a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry, Chinese President Xi Jinping also sent condolences to South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, expressing his sorrow and shock over the accident in Seoul. Additionally, he sent his condolences to the families of the accident victims.
John Lee, the leader of Hong Kong, expressed his sadness over the accident in Seoul in a statement posted on Facebook.
“I deeply regret the loss of the victims, send my condolences to their families, and pray for a speedy recovery for everyone who was hurt,” Lee said.
The tragic events in Seoul, according to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, “come as a shock to all of us.”
Scholz tweeted, “Our thoughts are with the many victims and their families. “South Korea is having a sad day today. Germany supports them in this.
The tragic news from Seoul left German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock “heartbroken,” she said.
They expected a night of fun Halloween celebrations, but what they discovered was genuine horror and death, according to Baerbock. “My thoughts are with the victims, their friends, families, and anyone who continues to worry about a loved one,” the speaker said.
President of Singapore Halimah Yacob called the deaths “tragic” and said it was “hard to imagine” the trauma and grief endured by the affected people’s families, friends, and loved ones.
During this trying time, “my thoughts and prayers are with the people of South Korea, and I wish a quick and complete recovery to all those who are injured,” she said.