The government on Tuesday decided to establish new guidelines to better compensate the families of those killed in action during the 1950-53 Korean War amid public criticism of the 5,000-won ($4.36) compensation for their loss.
The Ministry of National Defense will finalize the guidelines sometime this week and forward them to the Ministry of Veterans and Patriots Affairs for its implementation, officials said.
The implementation of the new guidelines will begin soon as they do not require approval from the parliament or president, a MVPA official told The Korea Herald, declining to be named.
The 5,000-won compensation will be recalculated in relation to the inflation of gold prices since the soldier’s death.
Those who sought compensation but have yet to receive it will be given the recalculated amount along with the interest accumulated since their application.
Experts said the compensation money would amount to a little more than 4 million won should a person apply for it this year. Apart from that, spouses or parents of the war-dead also receive monthly compensation of around 1 million won under the current law.
The new level of compensation would be a significant financial burden for the government given that there are around 18,630 fallen troops whose families have yet to be notified of their death, observers said.
The decision came after officials from the MND, MVPA, the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission and the Prime Minister’s Office held a meeting to discuss the issue.
Following a series of media reports on the “shameful” compensation this week, public calls have surged for the government to devise more “realistic” compensation measures to appropriately honor the sacrifice of the war-dead.
Meanwhile, ruling Grand National Party floor leader Rep. Hwang Woo-yea said that it is “natural” to make the “utmost efforts” to honor the war-dead with proper compensation.
“With our policy committee, and related parliamentary committees, we should tackle the issue and address the fundamental issues,” he said during a meeting with party officials.
By Song Sang-ho (firstname.lastname@example.org