Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Parents of South Korean marines who died during the North Korean artillery shelling of Yeonpyeong Island mourned the deaths of their sons while condemning the downplaying of North Korean provocations.
Kim Oh-bok, the mother of South Korean Marine Seo Jung-woo, said Monday at the 10th anniversary memorial at Daejeon National Cemetery her son had called on the day of his death. Seo was about to go on vacation when the shelling occurred, Kim said, according to Yonhap.
"I still remember vividly your words on the phone, 'Mother, I'm about to go on vacation leave,'" Kim said, as she read her letter of remembrance before an audience that included Defense Minister Suh Wook.
"I am sorry, so sorry. And I am sorry again. For not once did you [receive] a word of apology for your sacrifice, and now the shelling of Yeonpyeong is being forgotten in the hearts of many."
Seo was among the four South Koreans who died during the bombardment on Nov. 23, 2010. Moon Kwang-wook, another marine, and two civilians died after North Korea fired about 170 artillery shells and rockets.
On Monday Kim criticized what she said was lack of interest in the incident.
"In the name of peace, there are more and more of those who try hard to dismiss North Korea's provocations. This is truly unfortunate."
South Korean officials handling inter-Korea relations did not attend the ceremony in Daejeon.
Unification Minister Lee In-young said Monday engagement with the North must continue, and Pyongyang's unilateral decision to demolish the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong should not deter future efforts, JoongAng Ilbo reported.
"The liaison office must be rebuilt without leaving behind a history of hostility," Lee said at a meeting hosted by the ruling Democratic Party.
Lee also said the South should push to build liaison offices in the North Korean cities of Sinuiju, Rajin and Sonbong, according to the JoongAng.