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World leaders offer condolences to South Korea after Halloween tragedy

“We grieve with the people of the Republic of Korea and send our best wishes for a quick recovery to all those who were injured,” President Joe Biden tweeted after the incident that left 153 dead.
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President Joe Biden was among several world leaders to send his condolences to South Korea after at least 153 people were killed and 103 others were injured during Halloween festivities in a popular nightlife district, in the capital Seoul. 

Biden tweeted that together with his wife, first lady Jill Biden, he was sending his “deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones in Seoul.” 

“We grieve with the people of the Republic of Korea and send our best wishes for a quick recovery to all those who were injured,” he said.

Later Sunday, Biden specifically made note of the two American lives reported lost in the tragedy.

"Jill and I are devastated to learn that at least two Americans are among so many who lost their lives in Seoul. Our hearts go out to their loved ones in this time of grief, and we continue to pray for the recovery of all who were injured," Biden tweeted.

Chinese President Xi Jinping also said in a letter that he “would like to express deep condolences to the victims and extend sincere condolences to their families and the injured,” according to the state-run Xinhua news agency. 

Choi Seong-beom, the chief of Seoul’s Yongsan fire department, said early Sunday that 19 foreigners were among the victims, some of them Chinese citizens, as well as citizens of Iran, Norway and Uzbekistan.

Xi added that he hoped South Korea “will make every effort to cure and deal with the aftermath,” Xinhua reported. 

A man pours a glass of an alcoholic beverage, in tribute to those who were killed in a Halloween stampede late on Saturday in Seoul's Itaewon district, on Oct. 30, 2022.
A man pours a glass of an alcoholic beverage Sunday in tribute to those who were killed in a Halloween stampede late Saturday in Seoul's Itaewon district.Anthony Wallace / AFP - Getty Images

A Norwegian citizen was confirmed to have died in the crush, a spokesperson for Norway’s Foreign Affairs Ministry told Reuters. Citing confidentiality, the spokesperson provided no details about age or identity.

“I am devastated by news of the terrible incident in connection with Halloween celebrations in Seoul,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said in a statement. “My deepest condolences to families and friends who lost their loved ones. My thoughts are with those affected by this tragedy.”

Her comments were echoed by Britain’s new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, who tweeted: “All our thoughts are with those currently responding and all South Koreans at this very distressing time.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also tweeted that he was “wishing a fast and full recovery to those who were injured.”  

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida offered his condolences Sunday. “I am greatly shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of many precious lives, including young people with a bright future, as a result of the very tragic accident that occurred in Itaewon, Seoul,” he said in a statement.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz wrote on Twitter that he was deeply shocked by the “tragic events in #Seoul” and added: “This is a sad day for South Korea. Germany stands by their side.”

And French President Emmanuel Macron shared the sentiments, tweeting Saturday: “A moving thought this evening for the inhabitants of Seoul and for all the Korean people after the drama of Itaewon. France is at your side.”

Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted his thoughts. "Even as Ukraine endures its own suffering, I am deeply saddened by the tragedy in Seoul," he wrote. "My heart goes out to those who lost their loved ones and I wish a speedy recovery to the injured. Dear Korean friends, please accept Ukraine’s deepest sympathy and solidarity."