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PM expresses gratitude to U.N. troops' devotion during Korean War

All News 10:09 July 27, 2016

SEOUL, July 27 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on Wednesday said South Korea wishes to express gratitude to the invaluable support provided by the United Nations during the Korean War (1950-53), adding Seoul will continue to take steps to protect the country from Pyongyang's relentless provocations.

"Due to the efforts made by the war veterans and its people, South Korea achieved miracle-like industrialization and democratization, making it stand strong today," Hwang said in a ceremony marking the signing of the Armistice Agreement, which ended the three-year bloodshed on the Korean Peninsula.

During the war, 21 countries lent support to South Korea, with 16 of them sending combat troops and the remaining providing medical units and logistical support. Tens of thousands of U.N. troops were killed in action.

"North Korea is continuing its reckless provocations, including the fourth nuclear tests and the launch of long-range missiles. More recently, Pyongyang fired ballistic missiles, and threatened Seoul by saying the launch is part of a training drill to target the South's key facilities," Hwang said.

The prime minister added the government will make every effort to induce the North to give up its nuclear weapons and accept changes.

On the matter of Seoul's decision to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system here, the premier urged the general public to expand their awareness on national security issues.

"The security capabilities begin with the unity of the people. Even now, Pyongyang is provoking internal dispute in the South through propaganda and cyberattacks," Hwang added.

Seoul has stressed that THAAD poses no health issues for those living in Seongju County, located 296 kilometers southeast of Seoul, but residents there have protested the government's decision. The opposition blocs have been casting questions on the effectiveness and safety that fueled uneasiness among residents.

The government said THAAD's deployment is critical for national security and said it cannot reconsider the matter.

colin@yna.co.kr
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