Today (25 June) marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War, a war that lasted for over three years and claimed countless lives. Australian Defence officials honoured the service and sacrifice of those who fought for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. More than 17,000 Australians served in the Korean War, with more than 340 losing their lives, more than 1,216 wounded, and a further 30 captured as prisoners of war.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said Australian soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses made a vital contribution to this international effort, earning widespread respect for their bravery and skill. “Today, we remember the devastating impact the Korean War had on the people of South Korea and its toll on the forces of 21 willing nations who came to their aid to defend their freedom,” Reynolds said. “Many Australians lost their lives in this mission. We pay our respects to all those who served, and all those who lost loved ones.”

Australia continues to seek the recovery of the remains of those Australians classified as missing in action. Those efforts progressed last year with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding fostering cooperation in relation to missing Korean War personnel.

“Australia and the Republic of Korea honour the legacy of the shared sacrifice by our Korean War veterans and their families through a strong and vibrant bilateral relationship,” Reynolds said. “Australia remains committed to supporting ongoing efforts by the Republic of Korea and the global community to establish permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

A small team of Australian Defence Force personnel is currently deployed to the Republic of Korea with United Nations Command to support inter-Korean peace process activities, aimed at reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. This includes monitoring remains recovery operations at Arrowhead Hill in the Demilitarised Zone, the site of one of the fiercest battles of the Korean War.

Further information about Australia’s contribution to the Korean War can be found here.

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