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Mar 09, 2023 / 18:48

South Korean Gov’t appeals court order: Vietnam requests respect history

Vietnam said it advocates putting the past aside and looking to the future, but it does mean ignoring the truth.

Vietnam requested South Korea to properly perceive and respect historical facts, Deputy Spokeswoman Pham Thu Hang of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said at a press conference in Hanoi today [March 9].

Vietnamese woman Nguyen Thi Thanh is seen on a laptop screen as she speaks to reporters via video call at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul on Feb 7, 2023. Photo: Yonhap

Hang made the statement following the news that the South Korean Ministry of Defense has appealed the court ruling to compensate a Vietnamese victim whose family members were killed by South Korean soldiers in Vietnam more than 50 years ago.  

“We deeply regret that the South Korean government appealed the court ruling, which did not reflect the objective truth of this matter.

Hang said that Vietnam advocates “putting aside the past, looking to the future” but it does not mean that the truth should be ignored.

In the spirit of comprehensive strategic partnership, Vietnam suggested that the Korean side properly understand and respect historical facts, encourage practical actions to address the aftermaths of the war and work to improve ties between the two nations and between their peoples, she noted.

Last month, the Seoul Central District Court ordered the South Korean government to compensate KRW30 million (US$22,000) in damages and additional funds for a delay to Nguyen Thi Thanh, a survivor of attacks on civilians conducted by the South Korean troops in 1968 when they fought alongside the US during the war in Vietnam.

Thanh filed a suit against the South Korean government in 2020.

According to the court, Thanh lost her mom, two sisters, and 71 neighbors in a massacre perpetrated by the 2nd Marine Brigade of the South Korean Marines while on a mission during the war in Vietnam.

It served as the first official legal admission of South Korea's responsibility for wartime atrocities.

The South Korean Defense Ministry said in a statement to Reuters that it will "fully cooperate with the trial proceedings under continued consultations with related agencies to receive an appellate ruling based on substantial truth.”

 A group of South Koreans bowed to say sorry at a memorial service held in Vietnam's Central Province of Quang Nam on Feb 14, 2023, for the local victims of the massacre that happened in 1968. Photo: K.L