Blue House regrets spoiled U.S. forces concert

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Blue House regrets spoiled U.S. forces concert

The Blue House on Tuesday expressed regret that a concert to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division was obstructed due to the protests of civic groups.

“The 2nd Infantry Division was the first U.S. military unit deployed to South Korea during the Korean War,” Yoon Young-chan, senior secretary for public relations, said Tuesday. “The division was scheduled to relocate next year. It is regretful that the concert, prepared to appreciate their service, could not carry out smoothly due to another reason.” Yoon added, “It is a regretful situation, but the friendship between Korea and the United States must continue for the sake of the peace of the peninsula.”

The concert, hosted by the Uijeongbu city government of Gyeonggi, was scheduled for Saturday, but most of the invited Korean performers failed to show up, while the 3,500 audience, including many American soldiers, waited for the show.

The celebrities said they received threats by civic groups, which complained about the untimely event, saying it was insensitive for the city to host the event just three days before the 15th anniversary of the road deaths of two school girls by the division’s armored vehicle. Anti-American sentiment reached a peak in 2002 after the deaths. The soldiers involved were acquitted in a court martial and sent back to the United States, prompting massive street protests demanding the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

The Blue House’s comment on the controversial concert came shortly after Moon met with the leadership of the U.S. Forces Korea and stressed the importance of the alliance. The president paid a visit to the Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command and met with General Vincent K. Brooks, the commander of the Combined Forces Command and the U.S. Forces Korea. It was Moon’s first visit to the U.S. Army’s Yongsan Garrison in central Seoul as the president.

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