Nov 23, 2017
Reference: Korea Herald, Yonhap News (May 2, 2017)
USFK veterans to launch fraternity for alliance
South Korea said Tuesday former and current US Forces Korea service members will launch a new fraternity association in Washington DC this week after years of preparations, adding it would be the largest pro-Seoul group there.
The Korea Defense Veterans Association will be born in a ceremony to be held at the official residence of the South Korean ambassador to the US on Wednesday (local time), according to the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.
It will have as many as 3.5 million members in both the US and South Korea who have contributed to the peace and stability of the peninsula, said the ministry.
Gen. Lee Sun-jin (right), chairman of South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, and USFK commander Gen. Vincent K. Brooks cut a cake together at a ceremony in Seoul on April 26, 2017, to launch a foundation to support the Korea Defense Veterans Association. (Yonhap)
They include not only USFK veterans and personnel but also Koreans who served in the US military under the Korean Augmentation to the US Army program. Retired Army Gen. Walter "Skip" Sharp, who commanded the USFK from 2008 till 2011, has been named the first head of the association.
"As the biggest pro-South Korean group in the US, it's expected to play a pivotal role in strengthening the alliance," the ministry said in a statement.
Actively communicating with local opinion leaders, it added, the organization plans to focus on making the case for a stronger alliance between the two countries.
Before attending the ceremony, the ministry's chief Park Sung-choon also described the creation of the club as a "historic moment" for the alliance to move toward a new future.
"The South Korea-US Mutual Defense Treaty laid the groundwork for their alliance on the military level. The launch of the KDVA is tantamount to the signing of the second mutual defense treaty to lay another foundation for the alliance on the non-military level," he said.
In April 2014, former and current USFK commanders agreed to join hands to set up the association.
The launching ceremony will be attended by more than 150 dignitaries including Pentagon and State Department officials and congressional leaders.
Last week, some pro-alliance figures in Seoul established the Korea-US Alliance Foundation in Seoul with the aim of financially supporting the KDVA.
The South Korea-US alliance dates back to the 1950-53 Korean War, in which the US-led UN forces fought alongside the South against an invading North Korea.
Thousands of American troops have since been stationed here on a permanent basis, as the conflict ended in a truce, not a formal peace treaty. (Yonhap)