Korea, U.S. to exchange war memorial delegations

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Korea, U.S. to exchange war memorial delegations

South Korea and the United States will exchange special delegations to mark the 60th anniversary of the armistice agreement that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

And U.S. President Barack Obama is preparing a special speech to be delivered in Washington.

On Monday, Obama announced the members of a presidential delegation that will visit South Korea and attend an event at the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul on Saturday.

Led by U.S. Ambassador to Korea Sung Kim, the high-ranking delegation includes Gen. James Thurman, commander of the United Nations Command and U.S. forces in South Korea; James Zumwalt, Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs; David F. Helvey, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia; and David Stilwell, Strategic Plans and Policy Deputy Director for Asia on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The White House confirmed Monday that Obama will deliver a speech on the anniversary Saturday at the Korean War Veterans Memorial, located on the National Mall in Washington, DC, in an event hosted by the U.S. government. It is the first time a U.S. president has marked the anniversary.

“On Saturday July 27, President Obama will deliver remarks at the Korean War Veterans Memorial to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the Korean War,” the White House said in a press release, cited by Yonhap News Agency. “Defense Secretary [Chuck] Hagel will join the President for the program which will include wreath-laying ceremonies, special tributes and recognize the United Nations allies that provided combat troops, medical teams and other support.”

According to Korea’s Defense Ministry, 1.78 million U.S. troops were sent to the Korean War and 36,940 died.

South Korea will also dispatch a special presidential delegation of its own led by Kim Jung-hoon, a Saenuri Party lawmaker and the head of the National Assembly’s Policy Committee, to attend the event at the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

Jung Seung-jo, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will also join the delegation, a Korean Defense Ministry official told the Korea JoongAng Daily by phone.

BY KIM HEE-JIN [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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