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PM visits Thai military unit that served in Korean War

All Headlines 15:03 October 11, 2016

SEOUL, Oct. 11 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn visited a Thai military unit that fought under the United Nations flag in the 1950-53 Korean War on Tuesday, expressing gratitude to veterans.

Thailand is one of 16 nations that sent combat troops as part of the U.N. forces to defend South Korea from the North Korean invasion. The country sent 6,326 soldiers with 136 losing their lives in the conflict.

The visit came on the sidelines of Hwang's participation at the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD).

During his tour of the unit, an 82-year-old veteran who participated in the war sung "Arirang," one of the most famous Korean folk songs, greeting Hwang's visit.

"Arirang, a traditional Korean song, is about asking a lover not to leave. I think it also holds hope for a never-ending friendship of the two countries, which has been sealed with blood," Hwang said.

The prime minister added South Korea will not forget the sacrifice made by the young Thais 66 years ago to protect freedom and democracy, adding their contributions helped the South achieve an economic boom.

Hwang added South Korea will continue to host various programs, including providing scholarships to descendants of the veterans as a sign of its gratitude.

The Thai troops especially played a crucial role in a battle that took place in November 1952, when a battalion fought against a much stronger Chinese regiment, earning the nickname "Little Tiger." Twelve Thai and 204 Chinese soldiers died in that one battle.

colin@yna.co.kr
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