SEOUL, July 5 (Korea Bizwire) – Senior government and military officials and other citizens attended ceremonies unveiling a statue of Korean War hero Gen. Paik Sun-yup and marking the third anniversary of his death in a southern county on Wednesday.
The ceremonies took place at a war memorial in Chilgok, the site of a major battle during the 1950-53 conflict. Participants included Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup, Veterans Affairs Minister Park Min-shik and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Park Jeong-hwan.
The late general, who died on July 10, 2020, at the age of 99, was credited with leading key battles during the war and served as the fourth chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after the conflict.
“I believe many people will be able to honor the sacrifice and devotion of Gen. Paik Sun-yup, a star of patriotism who saved South Korea,” Minister Park was quoted as saying during the ceremony.
A civilian committee oversaw the statue’s construction funded by private donations and the veterans ministry.
After the statue was unveiled, the Army hosted a remembrance ceremony to mark Paik’s death anniversary.
It was attended by over 1,000 people, including U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Paul LaCamera, and the late general’s daughter Paik Nam-hui.
“The freedom, peace and prosperity that we are able to enjoy today are possible due to the noble sacrifice and devotion of patriots like the late Gen. Paik Sun-yup,” Lee said in a speech.
“(We) will further develop the South Korea-U.S. alliance and carry on the spirit of patriotism to firmly defend the free Republic of Korea loved by the general,” he said, referring to South Korea by its official name.
Meanwhile, the veterans ministry is considering removing a state burial record on Paik that identifies him as a pro-Japanese figure, Minister Park told Yonhap News Agency by phone.
Paik’s family members are known to have made the request to the ministry several months ago.
In 2009, a presidential committee put him on the list of pro-Japanese figures due to his service in the Manchukuo Imperial Army, established by Imperial Japan, from 1941 to 1945.