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Overseas service members celebrate Lunar New Year amid COVID-19

National 06:00 February 12, 2021

SEOUL, Feb. 12 (Yonhap) -- Away from home amid the new coronavirus pandemic, South Korean service members on missions overseas held diverse cultural events, some with local people, to mark the Lunar New Year holiday.

This year's Lunar New Year's Day, one of the country's biggest holidays, falls on Friday, and the four-day holiday runs from Thursday through Sunday.

Members of the Dongmyeong Unit in Lebanon met local residents online and introduced them to the traditional holiday and Korean culture, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

They have offered Korean language and taekwondo classes online for locals to replace offline ones amid the COVID-19 situation, it added.

The unit has been operating as part of the U.N. force in the conflict-ridden country since 2007.

South Korean service members affiliated with the Akh Unit in the United Arab Emirates hold a memorial service for ancestors ahead of the Lunar New Year that falls on Feb. 12, 2021, in this photo provided by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on the day. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
South Korean service members affiliated with the Hanbit Unit in South Sudan play the traditional Korean board game of "yut" ahead of Lunar New Year's Day that falls on Feb. 12, 2021, in this photo provided by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on the day. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

In South Sudan, the Hanbit Unit shared some holiday cheer by staging a joint memorial ceremony for ancestors and enjoying folk games and e-sports competitions while strictly adhering to antivirus measures, according to the JCS.

The unit has been in the African nation since 2013 to carry out U.N. peacekeeping operations.

The Cheonghae Unit on missions in the Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Hormuz, as well as the Akh Unit in the United Arab Emirates, also took some time to celebrate the holiday, while maintaining a readiness posture by conducting naval operations and joint drills with UAE troops, respectively, the JCS said.

"Amid COVID-19 and other unfavorable situations, we've been able to carry out our duties thanks to the people. We will do our best to perfectly fulfill our work to heighten the national status," Lt. Col. Park Yong-gyu, who leads the Akh Unit, said.

Currently, more than 1,030 South Korean troops are operating on overseas missions in 13 countries for reconstruction, armistice monitoring and other peacekeeping missions.

A member of South Korea's Dongmyeong Unit in Lebanon exchanges greetings with local residents online ahead of Lunar New Year's Day that falls on Feb. 12, 2021,in this photo provided by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on the day. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
A service member of South Korea's Dongmyeong Unit in Lebanon talks with his family members via a video call ahead of Lunar New Year's Day that falls on Feb. 12, 2021, in this photo provided by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on the day. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
South Korean service members affiliated with the Hanbit Unit in South Sudan wave to send Lunar New Year greetings to the Korean people, in this photo provided by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

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