RoK veterans’ group condemns AO/dioxin use in Vietnam hinh anh 1At the press conference (Photo: VNA)

Seoul (VNA) – The Korean Healthy Security Measures Association (KHSMA), an advocacy group for war veterans, held a press conference with foreign correspondents on May 27 in Seoul to condemn the use of Agent Orange during the war in Vietnam and protest the lack of compensation from the US administration for all the victims in the Republic of Korea (RoK) of the toxic chemical.

At the event, KHSMA Chairman Kim Sung-woong said that the association aimed to receive the unpaid combat allowances that should have been granted to RoK veterans at least five decades ago.

Millions of people are known to have been exposed to toxic chemicals, used by the US forces during the war in Vietnam, suffering from deadly diseases such as cancers, nerve disorders, skin disorders, and birth defects.

Speaking at the press conference, Kim said up to 240,000 veterans of the US and some other countries who fought in the war in Vietnam received compensation worth 3,700 USD each, yet there were no combat allowances for the 23,000 AO victims in the RoK.

He underlined that AO is a chemical weapon and the use of it in the war in Vietnam was a crime against humanity. As many as 26 AO victims of the RoK filed a lawsuit to a US court in July 1994, yet the lawsuit was rejected and there was no compensation given.

The US sprayed some 80 million litres of toxic chemicals in Vietnam during the war, 61 percent of which was AO containing 366 kg of dioxin. As a result, more than 3 million ha of forested land was destroyed, while basic water and food sources for millions of people were contaminated.

Preliminary statistics showed 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to AO/dioxin. Tens of thousands of people died from exposure, while millions of others went on to suffer from cancer and other incurable diseases. The children and grandchildren of many victims have been affected with birth deformities. –VNA