- South Korea pledges stone from Kapyong battle site as centrepiece for monument
- Korean War Memorial Committee set to begin fundraising for project
- Kings Park memorial is planned to coincide with 70th anniversary of armistice in 2023
Australian servicemen and women who fought in the Korean War will be honoured with a new memorial planned to be built in Kings Park in time to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the cessation of hostilities in 2023.
The Korean War, sandwiched between the end of World War II and the start of the Vietnam War is sometimes known as the 'Forgotten War'.
It began when North Korean troops pushed into South Korea on June 1950 following a period where the United States and the then Soviet Union accepted mutual responsibility for Korea at the end the World War II.
Australia was the second nation, after the US, to send personnel from all three of its armed services to the defence of South Korea. In all, 21 nations contributed troops, ships, aircraft, and medical units to the conflict.
The most significant and important battle for Australian troops was at Kapyong between April 22 and April 25, 1951.
Thirty-two Australians were killed and 53 were wounded for their part in stalling a Chinese advance and preventing Seoul from falling into enemy hands.
Although an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, no peace treaty followed and North and South Korean forces continue to face each other across a four-kilometre-wide demilitarised zone along the 38th North parallel.
On September 5, 2019, the Returned and Services League of Western Australia unanimously voted to support the construction of a memorial within Kings Park in commemoration of WA's contribution to the Korean War.
Later that year, the then Republic of Korean Ambassador, Lee Baeksoon instigated a proposal to ship stone from Gapyeong County in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea to form the centre piece of the proposed memorial.
Gapyeong County is where the Battle of Kapyong was fought.
The offer - recently given in-principle approval from the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority Board - is in line with established Korean War memorials in other states and represents the latest symbol of gratitude by the Republic of Korea for the sacrifice made by Australia.
The Korean War Memorial committee has now begun fundraising for the new memorial that will be designed in consultation with Kings Park and Botanic Garden. The Honorary Consul to Korea, Fay Duda, is a member of the Korean War Memorial Committee
The Republic of Korea has issued Peace Medals to all identified WA veterans of that campaign.
Both the Returned and Services League of Western Australia and the Vietnam Veterans unanimously voted to support the construction of a memorial within Kings Park in commemoration of WA's contribution to the Korean War.
The Vietnam Veterans also support the construction of a memorial, noting that many Korean War veterans also served in Vietnam.
Comments attributed to Veterans Issues Minister Peter Tinley:
"Australia's involvement in the Korean War came only five years after the end of World War II. In many respects we were still recovering from the impact of that conflict which overshadowed the Korean War.
"Korea is sometimes called 'the Forgotten War' but Australia's involvement was significant, as were its losses.
"More than 17,000 Australians served during the Korean War, 340 were killed and more than 1,216 wounded. A further 30 were taken prisoner.
"According to the Department of Veterans' Affairs, 1,673 people born in WA served in the conflict 34 of whom were killed and six classified as missing in action.
"About 225 WA veterans of the Korean War are still with us and provide a valuable human connection to the conflict."
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
"Kings Park and Botanic Garden is a really special place for many Western Australians and I'm really happy that work is progressing to make this space even more inclusive.
"A memorial to commemorate and honour the servicemen and women who fought in the Korean War will have a lasting impact on the people, culture and history of Western Australia.
"While most Australians may not be as familiar with the Korean War as they are with either of the two World Wars, or the Vietnam War, those who served Australia in Korea did so with pride, courage and the best of the ANZAC tradition."
Veteran's Issues Minister's office - 6552 5300
Environment Minister's office - 6552 5800