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‘Recognize Victims of 2002 Sea Battle as War Dead’

Posted May. 25, 2010 11:27,   


President Lee Myung-bak ordered Monday that South Korean servicemen killed in a 2002 inter-Korean naval battle receive recognition as war dead.

After addressing the nation on the Cheonan sinking at the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul, he gave the order while looking at tombstones inscribed with the names of South Korean soldiers killed in action.

The six servicemen killed in the second battle of Yeonpyeong Island eight years ago were initially designated as having died while performing official duties. The Veterans Pension Act back then had no clause on being killed in action but underwent revision in 2004.

The six victims were then differentiated from servicemen who died while performing general duties and categorized as war dead. Their surviving relatives, however, could not get additional compensation because the law could not be applied retroactively.

Though the bereaved families of the Cheonan’s victims received 200 million to 359 million won (160,000 to 300,000 U.S. dollars) in compensation, those of the 2002 battle’s victims got just 31 million to 67 million won (25,525 to 55,167 dollars).

The ruling Grand National Party has considered giving additional compensation to the bereaved families of the Yeonpyeong battle`s victims. The president’s order is expected to accelerate parliamentary discussion on the matter.