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Moon apologizes over 'unjust death' caused by 'evil practice' in barracks during Memorial Day speech

All News 11:00 June 06, 2021

SEOUL, June 6 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in offered a public apology Sunday apparently over the recent death of a female Air Force officer, who had been sexually assaulted by a male colleague.

"I am very sorry to the people over such an evil practice in the barracks culture that led to the tragic and unjust death," he said during his Memorial Day speech at the Seoul National Cemetery.

The president stopped short of elaborating, but it was clear he was referring to the noncommissioned officer. She was sexually assaulted in a car in early March and soon reported the case to some of her seniors. But they allegedly attempted to cover it up. She was found dead at her official residence in late May in an apparent suicide.

Moon also cited media reports of poor meals for troops. He pledged efforts to address the problem of such evil practices, not just for the human rights of soldiers but also for their morale and national security.

President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook pay silent tribute at the Seoul National Cemetery in the capital of South Korea during the 66th Memorial Day ceremony on June 6, 2021. (Yonhap)

In veterans affairs, he stressed, it is important to protect the human rights and daily lives of those who are dedicating themselves for the nation.

Moon also said South Korea will gear up for another "big step" in the Korea peace process with a robust alliance with the United States confirmed in his recent summit with President Joe Biden.

He also declared a plan for his government to cope more proactively with the changing international order and security conditions on the basis of the alliance.

He mentioned some major agreements reached during the May 21 White House summit.

"We agreed that dialogue and diplomacy are the only way to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and permanent peace," he said. "(The government) will prepare to take a big step again for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and permanent peace."

The two sides also agreed to develop the alliance as a "more comprehensive" one, he pointed out.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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