Go to contents

S. Korean military must protect the nation with spirit of Taegeuk warriors

S. Korean military must protect the nation with spirit of Taegeuk warriors

Posted March. 27, 2015 07:20,   


Taegeukgi, the national flag of South Korea, will be worn on all military uniforms of soldiers from the coming October. Currently, the flag patch is affixed to the uniforms of the Marine Corps, Korean Augmentation to the U. S. Army (KATUSA) and troops dispatched to overseas. The Ministry of National Defense said, “This measure aims to enhance pride and patriotism of soldiers and to restore the trust of the public towards the military marking the 5th anniversary of Cheonan, the sunken frigate in a North Korean torpedo attack, and the 70th anniversary of division on the Korean peninsula.”

In the U.S., soldiers started to wear the American flag patches on their military uniforms after the September 11 attacks. However, wearing a national flag doesn’t grow the sense of pride. When the military is incorrupt and capable, soldiers will naturally have pride for national flag. When the military eradicates violence inside the barracks, get rid of defense industry corruption that wastes tax payers’ money, and develops defense capability to exterminate the enemy when an incident like Cheonan occurs, South Korean soldiers will naturally develop the sense of pride. If formality does not coincide with the substance, military uniforms with Taegeukgi flag patch worn may negate the true meaning of the national flag. Some people raise doubts that the military which lost trust from the public is now trying to avoid a crisis by ‘Taegeukgi marketing.’ “Six billion won is allocated as the budget for Velcro tapes to affix the national flag patches to military uniforms? What kind of fresh corruption would take place out of this?” The military must know that there are some people who ask this question.

Taegeukgi was in the background of portraits of the late soldiers of Cheonan in the ceremony to mark the 5th anniversary of torpedoing of the South Korean Navy frigate at the Daejeon National Cemetery on Mar. 25. “It is so humiliating and deplorable to have corruption in the defense industry, such as the Tongyeong vessel scandal, in front of heroic souls of the Cheonan sailors. The government will eradicate corruption in the defense industry and never allow such an unpatriotic acts to take root in the nation,” said the President. Such commitment must not end up with empty talks for a memorial ceremony.

The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy’s Chairman Moon Jae-in clearly defined the Cheonan incident as ‘sinking of the frigate Cheonan in a North Korean torpedo attack’ two days ago. Still, it seems too late to admit that. Our society’s wrong tendency, which does not believe the scientifically verified root-cause of the incident and ignores the truth, encourages North Korea to refuse an apology and argue its nonsense that the Cheonan incident was fabricated. If the South does not face up to threats by the North, South Korea’s national security will be put at risk.

Before wearing national flags on all military uniforms, the South Korean military must eradicate all corruption in the defense industry, which is so rampant that two Chiefs of the Naval Staff were imprisoned for involvement in the corruptive scandals, and endless sex scandals and human right abuses in the barracks. The military must exert painstaking efforts to transform itself to restore the trust of the public. Without thorough reform, criticism may arise that the measure to wear Taegeukgi on military uniforms is just a one-time event to avoid challenges that the military is now faced with. When soldiers are proud of being a soldier of South Korea, they will feel greater pride in the military uniforms with Taegeukgi affixed.