Exhibit honors Korea-U.K. ties

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Exhibit honors Korea-U.K. ties


From left, Park Jin, a GNP National Assembly representative, Park Hee-tae, parliamentary speaker, Prince Richard of the United Kingdom and Yu In-chon, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, visit a photo exhibition celebrating 60 years of British and Korean military cooperation held at the National Assembly. [NEWSIS]

Britain, which sent the second-largest military force to aid South Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War, is holding an exhibition at the National Assembly in central Seoul to showcase the two countries’ military ties over the past six decades. The exhibit, which also commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, will also display some 40 photos and images of the British military in their service during the war, as well as their operations in countries where the South Korean military also took part, including Iraq and Afghanistan. The exhibit is being organized by the British Embassy in Seoul and will be held at the National Assembly and other venues in the capital until October.

Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, flew to Seoul to attend last week’s opening ceremony for the exhibition called “Britain-Korea: Military Cooperation for 60 years.”

At the event, Martin Uden, the British ambassador to Korea, stressed that Britain’s ties with South Korea remain strong, and voiced support of Seoul’s diplomatic efforts to resolve the sinking of the naval vessel Cheonan.

“We wanted to make sure we mark the 60th anniversary suitably here, and found that the Imperial War Museum in London had a very good collection of pictures of Korea that had not previously been seen in Korea,” Uden said in an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo. Uden stressed the exhibition is more than just a retrospective exhibition looking back at the past.

After Britain and 20 other countries sent their troops to aid South Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War, South Korea rapidly extricated itself from the fallout of the war and became the first country to make the transition from aid recipient to an aid donor, even sending troops to be part of international peacekeeping efforts.

“We also thought it was right to bring the story up to date, since ... Korea has also come to the aid of other countries in UN peacekeeping missions, and in many cases that has been jointly with the U.K.,” said Uden. “So we wanted to tell the stories of partnership between the two countries. If you look at the exhibition, it’s telling you the story of what happened back in the 1950s and how we have also collaborated in UN peacekeeping missions around the world, including in East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti and Somalia.” The exhibition will be held at the National Assembly through Wednesday before moving to the War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan on July 1. The exhibit will conclude at the Seoul Museum of History in central Seoul from Sept. 20 to Oct. 10.

During what was his third visit to Korea from June 22 to 26, Prince Richard not only attended the exhibition’s opening ceremony and the South Korean government’s ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of Korean War, but he also visited the UN Memorial Cemetery in Busan to unveil a new British war memorial there. He also visited Yeouido, central Seoul, where British real estate developer Skylan Group is building a massive commercial complex named Parc 1, where two buildings, one 72 stories and the other 56 stories, are being constructed. When construction is complete in 2012, the complex will accommodate offices, stores, restaurants, hotels and other commercial facilities.

By Chun Su-jin, Jung Ha-won [hawon@joongang.co.kr]

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