SEOUL, May 31 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said Monday it is cooperating with local authorities over allegations some of its members were involved in no-mask parties on a Busan beach over the weekend in violation of social distancing rules.
According to police, around 2,000 foreigners, including U.S. soldiers, set off firecrackers and held parties without masks at Haeundae Beach in the southeastern city of Busan, marking U.S. Memorial Day.
"USFK is aware of the alleged behavior at Haeundae Beach and is cooperating with the KNP -- who maintain jurisdiction of this investigation -- and local authorities to determine if USFK-affiliated individuals were involved," USFK spokesperson Col. Lee Peters said. KNP stands for the Korean National Police.
Police received at least 38 reports of complaints from local residents overnight and dispatched dozens of officers to the scene.
The incident took place as South Korea is still struggling to stem the spread of the new coronavirus with cluster infections and variant cases continuing across the country.
"USFK remains committed to being good neighbors with our host nation and maintaining a strong ROK-US alliance, and condemns any type of behavior that affects our alliance," Peters said, referring to South Korea by its official name, the Republic of Korea.
USFK also came under fire last year over its troops' unruly Fourth of July celebrations after dozens of complaints were filed in Busan over wild and dangerous acts by foreigners wearing no face masks.
As of last week, USFK had reported 875 coronavirus infections among its affiliated population, most of whom tested positive upon their arrival here from the United States.
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