Gov’t to award medal to Robert Gates

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Gov’t to award medal to Robert Gates

The Korean government plans to award a medal of gratitude to former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, a Seoul official told the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday.

“Secretary Gates made distinguished contributions during his term to strengthen the military alliance between Korea and the United States,” the source said. “We will give him a decoration when he visits Korea at the end of the month.”

Gates is slated to visit Seoul at the invitation of the Seoul Forum for International Affairs, chaired by former Prime Minister Lee Hong-koo.

The source said the government has yet to decide what type of medal it will award Gates but said it was likely to be a medal of gratitude.

“If a final decision is made at the cabinet meeting, there is a strong likelihood that President Lee Myung-bak will award the medal himself at the Blue House,” the source said.

As U.S. defense secretary, Gates led the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while also pushing the conflicts toward peaceful resolutions. Gates was also involved in the decision to defer the transfer of wartime operational control from the United States to Korea and deepened bilateral security cooperation after North Korea’s two attacks last year.

By Jeong Yong-soo []
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