The Korean War Memorial Peace Concert – still remembering the PEFTOK’s valuable sacrifice
DIPLOMATIC POUCH - Han Dong-Man (The Philippine Star) - June 20, 2019 - 12:00am

The year 2019 marks the 69th anniversary of the Korean War which broke out in 1950 and lasted until 1953 on the Korean peninsula. The Philippines was the first Asian country to send troops to Korea during the war. The 7,420 Filipino soldiers, collectively known as the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK), defended our freedom against the communists during the dreadful war.

Currently, the Korean War has been forgotten by many people in the world, but it is still remembered by the Korean government and citizens. In the endeavor to commemorate PEFTOK and their families, the embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines, Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, and the Patriotic Culture Association will co-host “The Korean War Memorial Peace Concert” featuring the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and the Seocho Philharmoniker on June 25th at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Former President Fidel V. Ramos, one of the heroes of the Korean War, sent me a congratulatory message as follows:

“It would seem that the ultimate objective of war is almost always peace. For a few decades now, the world has for the most part enjoyed an era of peace, although the threat of war always hangs over our heads like the proverbial Sword of Damocles. The Korean War Memorial Peace Concert offers not merely a musical experience but also celebrates the majesty of peace as something that should be enjoyed by mankind for all time.”

The concert will be open to those who cherish the friendship between Korea and the Philippines as well as Filipino veterans and their families. This concert not only exemplifies the wonderful relationship between our two nations, but also underscores the fact that today’s Korea would not be enjoying peace, freedom, democracy, and economic prosperity without the righteous and noble deeds of brave Filipino Korean War veterans. This concert remembers and extols their invaluable contributions, and allows the future generation to recognize this selfless spirit and respect the courage and commitment of their forebears. I definitely believe that the Korean War Memorial Peace Concert is mainly a wonderful musical encounter, but most importantly it carries a message of friendship, partnership, and of course, peace. (If you wish to attend the Peace Concert, please contact the Korean Embassy at or for free tickets.)

 The late Conrado D. Yap, who killed 120 enemy soldiers to win a key battle and died in the Yuldong battle during the Korean War, was posthumously given the Taekuk Military Merit. Yap’s daughter accepted the award and said, “My father’s death is not in vain, because the way I look at Korea now, it has progressed so much. It is really amazing.” I truly believe that the PEFTOK’s sacrifice is not in vain looking back at the milestones which the Republic of Korea and the Philippines have accumulated over the last 70 years of friendship since our two countries established diplomatic ties in 1949.

 On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties, the year 2019 was designated as “a year of mutual exchange” by President Rodrigo Duterte and President Moon Jae-in. To celebrate the 70th anniversary, various cultural, economic, and academic events have been lined up in Metro Manila and in the provinces with K-pop concerts, travel and trade exhibitions, and cultural and sports festivals. I hope this year marks another milestone in the friendship between Korea and the Philippines. Also, I firmly believe that we need to keep enhancing our mutual understanding in order to enrich our countries’ relationship in the next 70 years.

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(Han Dong-man is the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Philippines.)

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