Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 00:26 | SYDNEY
Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 00:26 | SYDNEY

Inchon: An anniversary and a signal


Rory Medcalf


16 September 2010 15:46

With all the maritime tensions in North Asia lately, it would have been good if more of the Australian media had picked up on an important move in Canberra's defence diplomacy in that region — although at least this ABC television report was nicely done.

Yesterday, the ANZAC-class frigate HMAS Warramunga took part in the 60th anniversary re-enactment of the Inchon landings that turned the tide of the Korean War: a fitting choice of ship, as the original vessel to carry that name (pictured) supported the real Inchon assault.

This week's display, involving mainly US and South Korean forces, was of course as much about present-day political signalling as about honouring the past. In the aftermath of the Cheonan sinking, Australia's presence yesterday was a tangible mark of solidarity with South Korea and the wider US alliance network in Asia — very much in the spirit, it is worth noting, of recommendations from this recent report by my colleagues Malcolm Cook and Andrew Shearer. It is a timely reminder that the troubles on the Korean Peninsula remain Australia's problem too.

It is a pity, though, that Canberra's Defence media relations folk seem not to have been as quick off the mark as their American counterparts in giving this worthwhile story profile on the web. The day after the re-enactment, I could still find no mention or picture of it on the Australian Department of Defence website.

UPDATE: Late today this appeared on the Defence website; a good little wrap-up. Australia is clearly getting serious about the military relationship with South Korea: it turns out that our Chief of Navy was there too.