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S. Korea, U.N. allies mark 60th anniversary of Seoul's recapture
SEOUL, Sept. 28 (Yonhap) -- About 5,000 people, including President Lee Myung-bak and representatives from U.N. allies that fought for South Korea during the Korean War, marked the 60th anniversary Tuesday of the recapture of the South's capital from North Korean invaders.

   Some 1,000 decorated veterans from South Korea and 21 countries that dispatched troops for the South in the 1950-53 conflict also joined the national ceremony in central Seoul and paid a stirring tribute to the sacrifices of their colleagues.

   The Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950, and just three days later, Seoul fell to the North. Following the historic landing operation on Sept. 15 of that year, led by U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, at the western port of Incheon, Seoul was liberated from North Korea by the U.N. forces on Sept. 28 of the year.

   The U.N. forces later advanced up to the border with China before being forced to retreat due to Chinese intervention.

   In his speech, President Lee thanked the U.N. allies for their sacrifices, describing the recapture of Seoul six decades ago as the Korean War's defining moment that laid groundwork for South Korea today.

   "We will remember your sacrifice and dedication forever," Lee told audiences.

   In a bid to repay the international community for its help during the Korean War, Lee said his military will try to play a bigger role in global security and peace.

   "The military of the Republic of Korea should further develop into 'international armed forces' to contribute to the world security and peace," Lee said.

   This year's "Recapture of Seoul" ceremony was simultaneously held with a large-scale parade for Armed Forces Day, which falls on Friday, to highlight the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the war.

   Honor guards and military bands from eight countries, including the U.S., Britain and Canada, performed during the two-hour event, and thousands of combat-ready South Korean troops strode down the streets near the ceremony venue.

   Some 30 helicopters, including a UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache, flew over the venue, followed by celebratory flights by a fleet of Air Force planes such as F-15K fighter jets and T-50 supersonic trainer jets.

   Among the weapons to be shown during the ceremony are newly developed guns, self-propelled artillery and torpedoes, officials said.

   The Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula in a technical state of war.

   kdh@yna.co.kr
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