SEOUL, Oct. 1 (Yonhap) — South Korean soldiers deployed overseas celebrated the Chuseok holiday with various activities but without events inviting guests due to new coronavirus concerns, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Thursday.
This year’s Chuseok, the Korean autumn harvest celebration and one of the biggest holidays in South Korea, falls on Thursday, resulting in a five-day weekend that started Wednesday.
South Korean soldiers overseas usually invite locals to the base and hold various events to mark the national holiday. But this year, they celebrated the holiday themselves to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, officials said.
From the Dongmyeong unit in Lebanon to the Hanbit unit in South Sudan and the Akh unit in the United Arab Emirates, troops held a joint memorial ceremony for ancestors and enjoyed traditional games together at their respective bases, the JCS said.
Soldiers of the Cheonghae unit, which is currently in Oman for logistics, also held various events to mark the holiday while preparing for the upcoming departure. The unit usually operates in waters off Somalia to tackle piracy.
“Though we cannot be with our families, we will do our best to elevate our military’s stature overseas,” Akh unit chief Lt. Col. Park Yong-kyu said.
Currently, some 1,000 South Korean troops are operating on missions across the globe for international peace and defense cooperation.