Anchor: Korean-American singer and actor Yoo Seung-joon may soon get to enter South Korea for the first time since 2002. The country's top court ruled that is was illegal for Seoul to reject Yoo’s visa application because he acquired U.S. citizenship in an apparent bid to dodge conscription.
Choi You Sun has the details.
Report: South Korea's Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a lower court ruling that sided with Seoul's move to bar Korean-American singer and actor Yoo Seung-joon from entering the country.
The top court said the 2015 decision by the South Korean Consulate General in Los Angeles to reject Yoo's request for an F-4 long-term residency visa for foreign nationals of Korean heritage was in violation of the law.
The top court said the consulate general failed to exercise its discretionary power and rejected the visa application solely based on the Justice Ministry's entry ban on Yoo in 2002.
Yoo was a popular artist in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but he came under immense criticism in 2002 after attaining U.S. citizenship shortly before he was to enlist in South Korea's mandatory military service.
Citing the 42-year-old entertainer's potential to engage in "acts that harm national interest or public safety," the Justice Ministry has barred Yoo's entry into South Korea since he forfeited his Korean passport.
The court said Yoo's case should be handled the same way as those of others who are granted the F-4 visa after the age of 38, regardless of whether or not they are suspected of having attained foreign nationality to evade military conscription.
Having spent over a decade working in China and the U.S., Yoo filed a suit in South Korea against Seoul's Consulate General office in Los Angeles in 2015 following his visa rejection.
In 2016, the Seoul administrative court ruled that the singer's return to show business in South Korea could "demoralize soldiers who are devoting themselves to serving the country and encourage conscription evasion"
A Seoul appellate court upheld the initial ruling in 2017.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.
[Photo : YONHAP News]