HONG KONG– World leaders have expressed sadness and condolences after at least 151 people died in a wave of crowds on Saturday night in Seoul, South Korea.
The tragedy occurred in Seoul’s Itaewon district during Halloween festivities when a huge crowd filled a narrow downhill alley. At least 82 other people have been injured in South Korea’s deadliest crash in years.
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden sent their “deepest condolences” to the families of the deceased.
“We mourn with the people of the Republic of Korea and wish a speedy recovery to all who have been injured,” President Biden said in a tweet. “The United States stands with the Republic of Korea at this tragic time.”
Similarly, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called the news from Seoul “horrifying” on Twitter.
“Our hearts go out to those currently responding and to all South Koreans at this very trying time,” Sunak wrote.
Itaewon’s international character was shaped by its proximity to a nearby US military garrison. The area is still home to restaurants, bars, and other businesses catering to Seoul’s American community.
US Forces Korea, which commands the large US military presence in the country, expressed their condolences in a Facebook post.
“The Itaewon community has embraced 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 mourning, we will be there for you as you have been there for us.”
Leaders of countries like Japan, France, China and Singapore reacted with shock and sadness to the tragedy in Seoul.
“I am extremely shocked and deeply saddened by the extremely tragic accident in Itaewon, Seoul, which claimed many precious lives, including those of young people with their future ahead of them,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a statement. a tweet.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron – who tweeted in French and Korean – offered his support to the people of Seoul and to South Korea.
“France is with you,” he said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed similar sentiments on Twitter, sending his “sincere condolences” to the people of South Korea “and wishing a speedy and full recovery to those who have been injured.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping also sent his condolences to South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, expressing his condolences and shock over the accident in Seoul, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry. He also expressed his condolences to the victims of the accident and their families.
Hong Kong leader John Lee said in a statement on Facebook that he was saddened by the accident in Seoul.
“I express my deep sadness for the deaths of the victims, offer my deepest condolences to their families and wish a speedy recovery to all those who were injured,” Lee said.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said “the tragic events in Seoul come as a shock to all of us.”
“Our thoughts are with the many victims and their families,” Scholz said in a tweet. “It’s a sad day for South Korea. Germany is on their side.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said she was “heartbroken” by the tragic news from Seoul.
“They were looking for a night of light Halloween festivities, but instead found real horror and death,” Baerbock said. “My thoughts are with the victims, their friends and families, and those who still fear for their loved ones.”
Singapore President Halimah Yacob called the loss of life “tragic” and said it was “difficult to imagine” the trauma and grief experienced by the families, relatives and friends of those affected.
“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.