The veterans ministry said Wednesday a large group of foreign Korean War veterans and their family members will visit South Korea this week under a program to commemorate their service during the 1950-53 Korean War.
A total of 70 people -- 51 from 10 countries that sent troops or other forms of support to South Korea during the war, as well as 19 people of Korean descent from the United States, Canada and Argentina -- will arrive Wednesday for a six-day stay on the occasion of an annual memorial event marking their sacrifice under the UN flag, according to the ministry.
Among them are 18 war veterans, including three aged 96 -- former US soldier Hiroshi Shima, former British Army pilot William Terrence Ashley Nicholls and Ret. 1st Lt. Jacob Cornelis Constandse of the Netherlands.
The veterans also include 10 people of Korean descent, such as David M. Shim, a 92-year-old former South Korean Army major currently living in the United States.
The group's program includes a visit to the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarized Zone on Thursday and a memorial event at the UN Memorial Cemetery in Busan, 320 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Saturday.
During their visit, South Korea plans to present the Chungmu Order of Military Merit to Nicholls in recognition of his service during the war, highlighted by the 145 sorties he made as a pilot.
Nearly 2 million troops and personnel from 22 countries were dispatched to help South Korea during the three-year war, which ended in a ceasefire, not a peace treaty. More than 40,000 of them died, with 3,950 others missing, according to ministry data. (Yonhap)