News / Asia

South Korea Marks 60 Years Since Start of Korean War

Members of the Korean Veterans Association
Members of the Korean Veterans Association

South Korea marks the 60th anniversary Friday of the three-year war with the North. The conflict ended with a truce in 1953 and the Korean peninsula has remained in an uneasy state between war and peace.

At a subdued ceremony in an Olympic gymnasium, South Korea paid tribute to its soldiers and allies who fought under the banner of the United Nations.

Combat and support units from 21 countries arrived after North Korean forces crossed into the South on June 25, 1950.

Addressing the veterans, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said his country's ultimate goal is not another military confrontation with the North, but peace.

President Lee says for that to happen North Korea must stop reckless military provocations, such as the torpedo sinking of the Cheonan warship three months ago, which killed 46 South Korean sailors.

The president called for Pyongyang to clearly confess to sinking the vessel, apologize, and take a responsible attitude in front of the international community.


The March 26 incident has raised tensions on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea denies involvement and has warned that any moves by the United Nations to punish it could lead to renewed war.

President Lee is expected to discuss the U.S. and South Korean response to the Cheonan incident Saturday on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, in Canada.

Former U.S. Major Kurt Chew-Een Lee from the documentary Uncommon Courage: Breakout at Chosin.

"The Korean War was perhaps the most intense war. The Korean War only lasted three years. But there were 33,700 killed in action. "

"People make a big thing. 'Oh, you are fighting against your own brothers and all that.' But what about all the Germans and Italians in the American army fighting against the Europeans. Do they have the same concern? "

"I found war to be a fairly simple matter. Everything is black and white as a matter of life and death and the welfare of your men."

Some U.S. veterans returning to South Korea for the war anniversary are calling Seoul's public tribute to the allies long overdue.

Robert Fletcher is one of them. He arrived in Korea in 1950 as a 17-year-old private first class with the 24th Infantry, a regiment composed solely of African-American soldiers. Fletcher remains bitter that the achievements of his heavily outnumbered unit at Busan have been overshadowed in history by the subsequent counter-attack by U.S. Marines.

"We destroyed three divisions of North Koreans and then went back to our position," he said. "People don't understand it. If we hadn't held, the [U.S.] Marines would have never landed up at Incheon."

Fletcher would later be captured by the North Koreans and spend 33 months as a prisoner of war.

What also seems to be making a profound impact on the returning veterans is how South Korea rebuilt and became so prosperous. It is now Asia's fourth largest economy.

"It's completely different than I remember," said Joseph O'Brien, a U.S. Army private first class during the Korean War. "When I was here, there was nothing. Everything was blown up. Nothing but dirt roads. Everything now is so modern. It looks great."

The United States dispatched nearly 1.8 million troops, sailors and airmen to Korea during the war, making it the largest member of the 21-nation coalition. More than 36,000 Americans were killed. But the Korean people suffered the most with an estimated 2.5 million perishing during the 37 months of war.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid