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Minister De Crem visits the South Korean National Cemetery at Seoul

March 26, 2019

This morning, the Belgian state visit to the Republic of Korea was marked by a visit to the National Cemetery of the Korean Republic. The so-called ‘Seoul National Cemetery’ is the last resting place of deceased Korean soldiers. The Historical War Museum, the Memorial Tower and the Memorial Hall are also located on that site. A visit to this cemetery is a traditional stop for heads of state and government visiting the Republic of Korea.

Our country and the Republic of Korea share a small piece of military history. In 1951, our country sent a battalion of volunteers to the Korean peninsula as a result of the on-going Korean crisis. Belgium would remain present until 1955 : during that period, a total of 3.171 Belgian and 78 Luxembourg soldiers would be present to make a Belgian contribution in resolving that Korean conflict. More than one hundred countrymen lost their lives in the process.

During his visit, Minister De Crem recalled one of his initiatives as Minister of National Defense. Minister De Crem : “As Minister of Defense, I took the initiative in 2012 to set up a cooperation project between the Belgian Ministry of Defense and the Korean Ministry of National Defense Agency for Killed in Action Recovery and Identification (MAKRI). The purpose of this project was to identify missing Belgian soldiers during the Korean war”, said Minister De Crem.

Later today, our King and Queen as well as Minister De Crem will be welcomed by the President of the Republic of Korea. That meeting will be the highlight of this state visit.

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