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(LEAD) Trump pays respects at Korean War memorial on 70th anniversary of outbreak

Diplomacy 01:32 June 26, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with details of visit; CHANGES headline, photo)
By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, June 25 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump paid his respects at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on Thursday, the 70th anniversary of the start of the war.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump placed a wreath and offered a silent prayer in front of a monument depicting the soldiers who fought in the three-year conflict.

The president then saluted as a trumpeter played taps. He later turned to greet the attendees, including around 10 American veterans who lined the side of the monument.

This AP photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, placing a wreath at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington on June 25, 2020. (Yonhap)

The White House said in a statement that Trump and the first lady attended the ceremony "to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War and remember the brave American soldiers who selflessly sacrificed their lives in the fight for peace."

The U.S. fought with South Korea under the United Nations flag to fend off an invasion by North Korea, supported by China and the Soviet Union.

More than 33,000 American troops were killed in action.

The conflict ended in a ceasefire, not a peace treaty, leaving the two sides technically still at war.

Past U.S. presidents have also visited the memorial on Washington's National Mall to mark the anniversary of the start or end of the war.

On July 27, 2013, then-President Barack Obama laid a wreath and delivered remarks to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the armistice signing.

President George W. Bush visited the memorial around the 50th anniversary of the armistice signing in 2003, while President Bill Clinton marked the 50th anniversary of the start of the war in June 2000 with a commemorative ceremony held near the memorial.

Trump did not give a speech and left the site after a 20-minute visit, which included a brief guided tour of the monument and other structures comprising the memorial.

Among the officials in attendance were Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie and South Korean Ambassador to the U.S. Lee Soo-hyuck.

This AFP photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump speaking with veterans as they visit the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington on June 25, 2020. (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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