From left to right: Mr KOPP (First Secretary of the BND and German Defence Attaché); Colonel of the General Staff DREYER, Mr BG KIM (Vice Head of Department for International Cooperation of the Korean Defense Intelligence Agency); Mr AUER (German ambassador in Seoul); Colonel (ret.) Tae Choon PARK (former Vice Minister for Defense Policy of the RoK MND); Lieutenant General (ret.) YOO (Head of the liaison office at the Korean Parliament); Mr BG YEO (Head of the Section for Military Attaché Affairs of the Korean Defense Intelligence Agency); Col. KIM

German Federal Cross of Merit awarded to HENSOLDT Employee

On 5 February 2018, Tae Choon Park, Head of our branch office in Seoul (South Korea) since April 2017, was awarded the Cross of Merit (1st Class) of the Federal Republic of Germany. Tae Choon Park has performed services which are “of particular significance to German society”. The Order was awarded to him by the German ambassador in Seoul, Stephan Auer, in the form of a document signed by the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Our warmest congratulations on this honour.

Tae Choon Park was already very interested in Germany during his studies at the military academy in Korea. During his officer’s training, he was given a posting in Germany from 1986 to 1988. In the course of the following two decades, he occasionally returned to Germany – to the Army Training Division, the Army Office and also to the General Staff Office of the 2nd Army. From 2012 to 2016, he was posted to Berlin as the Defence Attaché for South Korea.

During this time, Tae Choon Park clarified a mistake in German-Korean history at the time of the Korean War. He was responsible for correcting the history books dealing with the almost forgotten story about Germany as a source of hope at difficult times. During the Korean War (1950-1953), Germany first of all offered to support the USA financially and by building a field hospital in South Korea. However, while the equipment was still being shipped, a cease-fire was declared. What was originally planned as a field hospital in 1953, turned into an almost normal hospital with 250 beds in a former lyceum in Busan, which was opened in 1954. Until 1959, the German Red Cross operated the hospital in Busan, which included a surgical, internistic and gynaecological department. In these five years, only poor patients were admitted, usually seriously ill. When the German Red Cross took stock after five years of service, the results were amazing: 22,000 patients admitted and 230,000 people given treatment as outpatients, 16,350 operations, 6,000 births.

By mistake, Germany had previously only been credited with giving financial support, but not with providing medical aid. This correction thanks to Tae Choon Park is of vast importance to Germany, not least because this means that Germany made an essential contribution to developing modern medical technology in Korea. Tae Choon Park rightly realised that this hospital was of great significance to Korea on the road to becoming an industrialised country. [NU]


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Nora Urban
nora.urban @hensoldt .net