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[Defense Minister Suh Wook] “Defending NLL, a strict order from the state and the people”

Defense Minister Suh Wook delivers speech to mark the 19th anniversary of the 2nd Yeonpyeong Naval Battle

“The patriotism and military spirit of the six heroes are still breathing in our hearts”

Defense Minister Suh Wook delivers speech to mark

“The defense of the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in the West Sea was a strict order by the state and people,” announced Defense Minister Suh Wook.


At a ceremony held at the Navy 2nd Fleet Command on the 29th to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the 2nd Yeonpyeong Naval Battle, Minister Suh pronounced that the battle "stood as a proud day in the history of our military.”


Hosted by 2nd Fleet Commander Hwang Jeong-oh, the ceremony was attended by the bereaved families of 6 heroes and veterans of the 2nd Yeonpyeong Naval Battle, Defense Minister Suh Wook, Navy Chief of Staff Boo Seok-jong, Commander of Marine Corps Kim Tae-seong, Lee Nam-woo, the deputy director of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, Song Young-gil, Representative of the Minjoo Party (the Democratic Party of Korea) and Lee Jun-seok, Representative of the People's Power Party, 2nd Fleet soldiers, military officials, etc. In consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic situation the 2nd Fleet invited only a minimum number of guests, and made every effort to comply with COVID guidelines, including conducting quarantine with all attendees in a vehicle at a temporary quarantine station before entering the unit.


The ceremony started with some opening remarks, followed by a national ceremony, a progress report on the 2nd Yeonpyeong Naval Battle by Commander Hwang Jeong-oh, a commemorative speech by Defense Minister Suh Wook, an encouraging speech by Hwang Eun-tae, father of the late chief petty officer Hwang Do-hyeon who was speaking as a representative of the bereaved families, a marine protection resolution and chanting of a navy song, and the closing remarks.


In his commemorative speech, Minister Suh said “(at the 2nd Yeonpyeong Naval Battle) The heroes of Chamsuri 357 bravely confronted North Korea’s provocations to fulfill their mission of ‘defending the NLL in the West Sea of Korea’ even in the midst of a desperate crisis. They fought courageously to the end, willing to die in battle if necessary, and sacrificed their noble lives to protect the NLL.”


In particular, Minister Suh called out the names of the late lieutenant commander Yun Young-ha, senior chief petty officer Han Sang-guk, chief petty officers Cho Cheon-hyeong, Hwang Do-hyeon and Suh Hoo-won, and second class petty officer Park Dong-hyeok, the heroes of Chamsuri 357 who became heroes of the country protecting the West Sea, in order to sincerely honor them.


“Even as I am speaking now, six ships with high-speed guided missile are protecting the seas of the Republic of Korea, carrying on the patriotic spirit and belief in victory of these deceased heroes,” Minister Suh mentioned. “Many people are grateful for their dedication, including elementary school students from Waegwan, Gyeongsangbuk-do who wrote their letters on about 650 paper crane three days ago. We will remember these six heroes forever: their names are engraved in the history of our country,” he added.


Minister Suh also assured those in attendance, “Our military will firmly protect the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula as well as the seas that our beloved comrades devoted their lives to protecting by establishing a strong national defense posture, deeply cherishing the honorable sacrifice and dedication of the six heroes and veterans.”


“At the 20th anniversary ceremony next year, we will do our best to commemorate the dedication of the heroes of the 2nd Yeonpyeong Naval Battle, and raise their honor through various events, including a floral tribute on board. We will make every effort to honor all those who have devoted themselves to our country, particularly these heroes at the 2nd Yeonpyeong Naval Battle, and treat their memories with the utmost respect,” he added.


After the commemoration ceremony, the bereaved families and veterans paid a visit to the monument to the 2nd Yeonpyeong Naval Battle, meditated in silence, and then swallowed their pain, touching the relief statues depicting the six heroes. The families then moved to the Daejeon National Cemetery to honor the 6 heroes.


The 2nd Yeonpyeong Naval Battle broke out at 9:54 am on June 29, 2002, when a North Korean patrol boat invaded the NLL and ambushed the South Korean Navy's Chamsuri 357. At that time, the soldiers of the Chamsuri 357 took immediate action to defend the West Sea NLL, but unfortunately six soldiers including lieutenant commander Yun Young-ha, a leader of the Chamsuri 357, lost their lives.

 By Chae-Mu, Im < >

 By Seong-Su, No <>

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