by COURTNEY LEE
U.S. soldiers stationed in Korea are literally going to get a kick out of this week.
Soldiers from the United States Forces Korea (USFK) will have the opportunity to participate in a two-day taekwondo camp as part of the “Friends Forever” event, a series of programs organized by Korea’s Ministry of National Defense that aims to introduce Korean culture to U.S. soldiers, according to the Korea Times.
Starting Tuesday, South Korea’s national taekwondo team will teach USFK soldiers the origin and history of taekwondo as well as basic posture and self-defense moves, said the national defense ministry.
The USFK’s event calendar shows the next upcoming event as a two-day cultural orientation program beginning May 27, which will consist of a “tour of the ancient palaces and museums in Seoul.” The tour will also be offered a second time on June 9.
Another two-day tour will take place starting July 8 in Gyeonggi Province, featuring Suwon Castle, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Second Fleet Command of Navy, which is also home to the wreckage of the Korean vessel Cheonan, which was sunk by a North Korean torpedo in 2010 and led to 46 deaths.
In late October, U.S soldiers will also be able to partake in a “temple stay” at Haeinsa Temple in South Gyeongsang Province so they can “sample Korea’s spiritual culture in traditional Buddhist temples.”
However, promoting good relations between the U.S. and Korea through cultural exchange is nothing new.
As part of its Good Neighbor Program, the U.S. army aims to contribute to the South Korea-U.S. alliance, which includes “Koreans and Americans, service members, family members, and civilians, all working together to maintain stability and prosperity and to serve the military community,” according to General James Thurman. For instance, USFK soldiers periodically host an English Camp for Korean students, allowing them to meet and practice conversing in English with foreigners.
“I appreciate the efforts of USFK soldiers for peacekeeping on the Korean Peninsula,” Defense Minister Han Min-koo told the Korea Times. “I want to ask them to make further efforts to set up the strongest and the most effective combined defense system in the world.”
Featured image courtesy of the U.S. Army