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  • A soldier holds a rifle in front of a giant image of Vietnam's late revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, outside a ceremony to celebrate his birthday in Hanoi.

    A soldier holds a rifle in front of a giant image of Vietnam's late revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, outside a ceremony to celebrate his birthday in Hanoi. | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 June 2017
Opinion

South Korean President Moon Jae-in honored mercenaries who served alongside U.S. soldiers during Vietnam's Resistance War Against the U.S.

Le Thi Thu Hang, Vietnam's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, called on South Korean officials earlier this week to avoid making public statements or taking further action that would jeopardize bilateral relations or harm the sensibility of the Vietnamese people.

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Thu Hang was responding to statements made by South Korean President Moon Jae-in on June 6 during the country's Memorial Day. During the occasion, Jae-in paid tribute to South Korean mercenaries who fought alongside U.S. soldiers during Vietnam's Resistance War Against the U.S.

Tuoi Tre News reported that during his visit to Seoul's National Cemetery, Jae-in stated that the country's economy had flourished thanks to the “dedication and sacrifice” of South Korean soldiers in Vietnam.

“We request that the South Korean government refrain from any statement or action that could cause undue hurt to the Vietnamese people and risk damaging our friendly bilateral relations,” Thu Hang responded at a press conference. She emphasized that Vietnam desires to foster friendly relations with all countries.

According to Seoul-based newspaper The Hankyoreh, a total of 320,000 South Korean troops fought in Vietnam between 1965 and 1973. Between January and February 1966, the Korean Tiger military division was responsible for the massacre of over 1,000 Vietnamese civilians in the Tay Vinh village in the south-central province of Binh Dinh.

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Between January and February 1968, some 357 Vietnamese were murdered by South Korea's Blue Dragon division based in Dien Ban Village in Quang Nam province.

Data obtained from Vietnam's 1980s war crime commission verify that both massacres were perpetrated by South Korean mercenary troops.

The U.S. and other western countries often refer to the conflict as the Vietnam War, or Nam. In Vietnam, however, the conflict is officially called, “The Resistance War against the U.S. Empire to Save the Nation” or simply “The Resistance War Against the U.S.”

Though statistics vary, it is generally agreed that over a million Vietnamese were killed during The Resistance War Against the U.S. Over 58,000 U.S. soldiers and some 6,000 South Koreans perished during the war.

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