The Republic of Korea’s Minister of Patriots and Veteran Affairs, Hon Sung Choon Park, today (Thurs, 26th May 2011) awarded 17 presidential citations to New Zealand war veterans who served in Korea and to the entire current 16th Field Regiment at Linton Army Camp.
Hon Park, had spoken of the high esteem that New Zealand Korean war veterans hold in his country, at a luncheon for about 50 veterans and their wives in Wellington yesterday. The Korean Minister is heading a delegation on a four day visit.
He thanked New Zealand for sending more than 6,000 troops to fight for democracy against communist forces and particularly the 16th Field Regiment for their “meritorious services and bravery over the course of the Korean War”.
“The peace, freedom, and prosperity the Korean people are now enjoying is largely credited to the devotion and commitment of Korean War veterans of the UN allied nations, including New Zealand,” Hon Park said.
Minister of Veterans’ Affairs Judith Collins said today that the Regiment had played a prominent role in the Battle of Kap’yong “when the gunners fired more than 10,000 rounds” to support units in the 27th Commonwealth Brigade over four days.
“The regiment had a reputation for bravery and 30 gallantry decorations were awarded for individual acts of heroism,” Ms Collins said.
Hon Park will also meet Defence Minister Wayne Mapp and other Korean war veterans and lay a wreath at Auckland War Memorial Museum on Friday.
In a busy week for Korea-New Zealand relations, Korean officials have held ocean and Antarctic talks with MFAT officials and next week Korean science officials will attend the second New Zealand-Korean joint science and technology meeting and meet with the Ministry of Science and Innovation.
The visit organisation was a combined effort by the Korea Embassy, Visits and Ceremonial Office, Veterans’ Affairs NZ, NZDF, the NZ Embassy in Seoul and MFAT’s North Asia division.