December 27, 2018 13:26
The Army on Wednesday apologized for making souvenirs out of debris from destroyed guard posts along the demilitarized zone and giving them as gifts to ruling party lawmakers.
The incident happened despite the Defense Ministry's order to preserve the scraps after destroying the guard posts in line with a military agreement signed in September.
When the story came to light, the Army issued an apology and Minjoo Party lawmakers pledged to return the gifts.
The Army admitted that the 7th Infantry Division in Hwacheon, Gangwon Province presented the souvenirs to seven Minjoo Party lawmakers and two other officials who visited the frontlines on Dec. 18, when the two sides officially completed the demolition.
They took the form of a piece of barbed wire from a guard post mounted on an outline of the Korean Peninsula. The frame was engraved with the motto "All soldiers in the division pledge to uphold peace on the Korean Peninsula and will always remember lawmaker [name] who visited the 7th Infantry Division."
The Defense Ministry in early December told the Army to keep the debris intact after destroying the guard posts until further orders because it is mulling ways to use it as a symbol of peace or for other purposes.
An Army officer said, "We received the order from the ministry, but it seems it was not relayed properly to the units affected."
Opposition parties condemned the military and the ruling party. The Bareun Mirae Party claimed the incident exposes a moral hazard in the military and the gifts constitute "embezzlement."
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