World leaders express grief after stampede in Seoul kills 151 | WGN 720 Radio

HONG KONG (AP) — World leaders have expressed sadness and condolences after at least 151 people died in a stampede Saturday night in Seoul, South Korea.

The tragedy occurred in Seoul’s Ithaewon district during Halloween celebrations, when a huge crowd poured into a narrow alley. At least 82 people were injured in South Korea’s deadliest road accident in years.

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden sent their “deepest condolences” to the families of the victims.

“We mourn with the people of the Republic of Korea and wish a speedy recovery to all those affected,” President Biden tweeted. “The United States stands by the Republic of Korea at this tragic time.”

Similarly, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described the news from Seoul as “appalling” on Twitter.

“All our thoughts are with those currently responding and with all South Koreans at this very troubling time,” Sunak wrote.

Itaewon’s international character was shaped by its proximity to the US military garrison nearby. The area is still home to restaurants, bars, and other businesses that cater to the American community in Seoul.

US Forces Korea, which commands a significant US military presence in the country, expressed its condolences in a Facebook post.

“The Itaewon community has opened its arms to us over the years and is one of the reasons our Alliance is so strong,” the command said in English and Korean. “In this time of grief, we will stand by you as you have stood by us.”

Leaders of countries such as Japan, France, China and Singapore reacted with shock and sadness to the tragedy in Seoul.

“I am deeply shocked and deeply saddened by the extremely tragic accident in Itaewon, Seoul, which has claimed many precious lives, including young people with a future ahead of them,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida tweeted.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron, who tweeted in both French and Korean, offered support to the people of Seoul 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 speedy and full recovery to those who were injured.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping also sent condolences to South Korean President Yun Suk-yeol, expressing his condolences and shock over the stampede in Seoul, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement. He also expressed his condolences to the victims of the accident and their families.

Hong Kong leader John Lee said on Facebook that he was saddened by the accident in Seoul.

“I am deeply saddened by the deaths of the victims, offer my deepest condolences to their families, and wish a speedy recovery to all those affected,” Lee said.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that “the tragic events in Seoul came as a shock to all of us.”

“Our thoughts are with the many victims and their families,” Scholz tweeted. “This is a sad day for South Korea. Germany is on their side.”

German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock said she was “heartbroken” by the tragic news from Seoul.

“They were looking for an evening of light Halloween festivities, but instead they found real horror and death,” Burbock said. “My thoughts are with the victims, their friends and families, and those who still fear for their loved ones.”

Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob described the deaths as “tragic” and said it was “hard to imagine” the trauma and grief experienced by the families, loved ones and friends of the victims.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the people of South Korea at this difficult time, and I wish a speedy and full recovery to all those injured,” she said.

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