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Veterans minister to visit France, Germany this week

May 5, 2024 - 14:26 By Yonhap
Veterans Minister Kang Jung-ai (Yonhap)

Veterans Minister Kang Jung-ai will visit France and Germany this week to strengthen cooperation in veterans affairs with countries that participated in the 1950-53 Korean War, her office said Sunday.

Kang departed for France earlier in the day for a seven-day trip that also includes a stop in Germany from Wednesday to Saturday, according to the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.

In France, she will meet Christian Cambon, a member of the French Senate, to discuss bilateral cooperation on international veterans affairs and visit a veterans hospital in Paris.

Her itinerary also includes attendance at a ceremony in Berlin to unveil a monument in honor of Germany's veterans during the Korean War. Germany provided medical support to South Korea in the years after the three-year conflict, which ended in a ceasefire, not a peace treaty.

It was funded by the Korean government with 210 million won (US$154,500) as Germany's first Korean War-related monument.

Then West Germany established a Red Cross hospital in the southeastern port city of Busan from 1954-1959 and sent 117 doctors to South Korea. But Germany was the only country where a war veteran monument was not set up among member states of the U.N.

In 2018, the Korean government additionally designated Germany as one of the countries that offered medical support for the war and recognized the dispatched German medical staff as war veterans.

Kang also plans to visit the grave of late independence activist Mirok Li in the vicinity of Munich to pay her respects and will discuss ways to repatriate his remains.

Li is a Korean writer who participated in the March 1 Independence Movement against Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule and later lived in exile in Germany. He published his autobiographical novel "The Yalu Flows" in 1946 and other books in Germany, and died in Munich in 1950. (Yonhap)