South Korea honored the heroic efforts of members of the Philippines Armed Forces who participated in the 1950-53 Korean War, the start of which has its 70th anniversary this year.
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Philippines troops’ arrival in Busan, Sept. 19, the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs held a ceremony at the Korean War Monument to the Philippine Armed Forces in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province.
The ceremony was attended by Minister Park Sam-duck, Philippine Embassy Charge de Affairs Christian L. De Jesus, United National Command Deputy Commander Vice Adm. Stuart Campbell Mayer, Goyang Mayor Lee Jae-joon and Republic of Korea Army 1 Corps Deputy Commander Jang Gwang-seon.
Minister Park Sam-duck said the ceremony was held as part of the ministry’s efforts to continue to promote the heroism of foreign veterans who came to South Korea to fight to protect its people 70 years ago, when most of them did not even know where the country was.
As many countries in the world suffer from the COVID-19 crisis this year, the government has been sending face masks to Korean War veterans in countries which participated in the war, as an expression of gratitude. In May, the ministry sent out 50,000 face masks to the Philippines.
“Many other events the ministry was planning to hold this year to honor war veterans have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation but we could still express our gratitude to the veterans by sending them face masks,” Park told The Korea Times after the ceremony.
“Seven decades ago, many of the United Nations troops sacrificed themselves for South Korea, which most of them had not known or heard of before. A total of 1.97 million troops came to the country and around 500,000 of them died in the war. Sending the masks to the foreign veterans was our expression of gratitude.”
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Philippine Embassy Charge de Affairs Christian L. De Jesus said South Korea and the Philippines have been very close not only as friends but also as brothers over the seven decades since the Philippines forces’ participation in the Korean War.
“We always say our brotherhood is forged in blood. And throughout these years, the Philippines has seen Korea develop from war-torn to now being one of the richest and advanced countries in the world,” he said. “The Philippines continues to be partner with Korea and our relationship has grown every year and we’ve managed to strengthen not only our people to people exchanges but also our trade and investment partnership and our security and defense.”
He also said that in light of the President Moon Jae-in’s New Southern Policy ― which aims to elevate Korea’s strategic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including its member states, and with India ― he believes that the relationship between the countries could be further developed to become a strategic partnership not only in the economic and investment sectors but also in security and defense.
The Republic of the Philippines was the third country to send ground troops to Korea, following the United States and United Kingdom. Since the arrival of the first batch of the Philippine troops at the port of Busan Sept. 19, 1950, around 7,420 Filipino troops were sent here each year for the three years until May 13, 1953.
The Filipino troops operated alongside the U.S. 25th Infantry Division from October 1, 1950 and made great achievements in the Battle of Yultong in April 1951. Among them, 112 died in the war with 288 wounded, 16 missing in action, and 41 being taken prisoners of war.
Source: The Korea Times