By Tim Oberle, Eighth Army Public AffairsMarch 27, 2015
Republic of Korea President Park, Geun Hye joined bereaved family members, surviving crew members, senior government officials and military officers at the Daejon National Cemetery Mar. 26 on the fifth anniversary of the North Korean attack on the South Korean Navy Pohang-class Corvette Cheonan to mourn the loss of 46 sailors who perished on board and an underwater demolition team Warrant Officer who lost his life during search efforts.
The memorial ceremony was held at the location where the fallen sailors are laid to rest and was just one of many memorials held at various locations across the country to pay tribute to those who lost their lives that fateful day in the Yellow Sea near the maritime border with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
An international investigation conducted by experts from South Korea, the U.S., the U.K, Canada, Australia, and Sweden concluded that the Cheonan was sunk by a torpedo launched by a North Korean Yeono-class submarine, though Pyongyang continues to deny any involvement to this day.
During the ceremony, President Park affirmed the South Korean government's long-time Alliance with the U.S. and vowed to continue to work together to strengthen the defense efforts to deter future attacks from occurring.
"The government will expand our national defense capabilities and establish a firm war deterrent based on our solid alliance with the United States, and ensure that incidents similar to the attack on the Cheonan never happen again," said Park.
Since the attack the U.S. and South Korea have revised their joint operational plan to better address future provocations and are currently conducting the annual defensive exercise Foal Eagle.
Foal Eagle is a joint, combined field-training exercise between the U.S. and Republic of Korea that kicked off in early March with a focus on enhancing the combat readiness posture of the ROK-U.S. Alliance through combined and joint training at multiple echelons.
During her address to over 5,000 attendees, Park also urged the North Korean government to abandon its provocative nature and work towards peace on the Korean Peninsula.
"I hope North Korea also abandons its reckless provocations and belief that nuclear weapons can protect it," continued Park. "Only when North Korea abandons its isolation and stagnation for the road to true change will we be able to build a new Korean Peninsula."