Posted June. 13, 2017 07:15,
Updated June. 13, 2017 07:19
On Saturday, the city government of Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi Province, held a concert to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the USFK 2nd Infantry Division, but the concert was botched by coercion and threats from leftist groups. Quest singers did not show up at all, and others including Insooni and Crying Nut bowed their apology instead of singing before exiting the stage. The fuss was attributable to the strong opposition from the northern district office of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, which accused the city government of spending the already insufficient city budget on a concert for U.S. forces in South Korea right before June 13, the day of the tragic event of Hyo-soon and Mi-seon, the two South Korean middle school girls who were run over by a tank of the 2nd Infantry Division 15 years ago. The singers told that their companies suffered blackmailing and malicious posting, warning them against attending the event.
Located near the enemy, such as Uijeongbu and Dongducheon, the 2nd Division plays an important role of defending South Korea until the arrival of additional U.S. forces in case of contingencies. While their actual foundation day is October 26, the city government of Uijeongbu advanced the event to invite as many U.S. servicemen as possible as the military bases in the area are scheduled to be removed to other regions such as Pyeongtaek. The leftist civic groups including the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, however, instigated anti-American sentiment as though it were not an accident, but an incident perpetrated by the U.S. forces on purpose.
It was the same groups that opposed the expropriation of Daechu-ri of Pyeongtaek City when the two countries agreed on removing the U.S. military base in Yongsan and the 2nd infantry division to Pyeongtaek in 2004. While the government made the decision after considering the public sentiment against having U.S. military bases in the center of the capital city, the groups even demanded that the U.S. forces should be pulled out altogether from South Korea. It is a well-established fact that the very same groups fueled anti-American sentiment across the country during the U.S. beef protest, degrading the ROK-U.S. alliance.
“I believe it was just an accident. I don’t think the (U.S. soldiers) did it on purpose out of hatred,” said Mi-seon’s father in an interview with the Dong-A Ilbo in 2012, 10 years after his daughter’s death. “I hope that the soldiers will take the burden off their mind.” In 2004, Psy, a South Korean singer, caused much controversy with his anti-American rapping, urging to give “the U.S. soldiers and their families a low, painful death,” but in 2012, the male singer was invited by the White House to a charity event attended by then U.S. President Barack Obama, despite opposing petitions in the U.S. The 210th Field Artillery Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division, which will stay in Dongduchoen until the transfer of wartime operational control is executed, will play a pivotal role of neutralizing North Korea’s long-range artillery guns and rockets in case of an all-out war. Naturally, this journalist wonders if they are willing to put their lives on the line for South Korea when South Koreans are sabotaging a concert designed to honor their service for the country.