Vietnam has requested that South Korea refrain from any statements or actions that could hurt the Vietnamese people or damage bilateral relations, according to foreign ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang.
Hang’s statement on Monday came in response to South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s remarks on the country’s Memorial Day last Tuesday, where he honored mercenaries who had fought in foreign countries, including Vietnam.
Moon said at the National Cemetery in Seoul that the country’s economy had thrived thanks to the “dedication and sacrifice” of soldiers who had fought in the American war in Vietnam.
South Korea’s Memorial Day is held on June 6 every year to commemorate men and women who have died in service during the Korean War and in other significant military operations.
“We request that the South Korean government refrain from any statement or action that could cause undue hurt to the Vietnamese people and risk damaging our friendly bilateral relations,” Hang said at a press briefing.
Vietnam wishes to nurture friendly relations with all countries, including South Korea, the spokesperson stressed.
According to the ministry spokesperson, leaders of the two countries had long agreed to leave the past behind them and look toward the future for the common good of both countries.
A total of 320,000 South Korean troops were sent to Vietnam between 1965 and 1973, according to Seoul-based newspaper The Hankyoreh.
Over 1,000 Vietnamese civilians were killed by South Korea’s Korean Tiger division in Tay Vinh Village, located in the south-central province of Binh Dinh, between January and February 1966, according to an investigation by South Korean current affairs weekly Hankyoreh 21, which was supported by figures from Vietnam’s war crime commission in the 1980s.
Another 357 were murdered by the Blue Dragon division in Dien Ban Village, situated in the central province of Quang Nam, between January and February 1968, according to the same statistics.