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USFK officials express regrets over July 4 beach incident in South Korea

Officials from U.S. Forces Korea have expressed regrets to the local community for “disruptive behavior” by American troops at a beach in Busan July 4.

United States Forces Korea is aware of disruptive behavior and poor conduct reports this weekend in Busan,” according to a USFK media release. “We regret the inconvenience and disruption this behavior caused the people of Busan.”

There were allegations of misconduct, not wearing masks, and mocking local officials, Army Col. Lee Peters, a USFK spokesman, told Military Times. Stripes and the Yonhap News Agency were the first to report on the incident.

Dozens of foreigners, presumed to be American citizens or soldiers, created disturbances by setting off firecrackers at a renowned beach in Busan on Saturday night apparently in celebration of Independence Day in the United States, resulting in the brief detention of a soldier, police said Monday, according the Yonhap news agency.

“The foreigners shot numerous rounds of firecrackers into the sky and even towards citizens for two hours, beginning around 7 p.m., on and around Haeundae Beach in the southern port city in an apparent Fourth of July party, according to the Busan Metropolitan Police Agency,” Yonhap reported.

They were also playing loud music and, in some cases, drinking heavily.

Fireworks are normally readily available to Koreans year-round, according to modernseoul.org. They “can be purchased at supermarkets, daiso type stores, online … plus at most convenience stores located close to beach. … They are generally cheap and especially popular during the summer.”

But they are banned at the beach and police have been cracking down on the sale of fireworks there.

According to the USFK media release:

“This type of behavior is deeply troubling to USFK and does not represent the strong respect we hold for the Korean people, their culture, laws and regulations. We expect all USFK-affiliated individuals — service members, family members, civilians, contractors and sponsored guests — to conduct themselves appropriately, both on and off duty, and to be ‘Good Ambassadors of the United States with our host nation.”

USFK “will cooperate with Korean law enforcement authorities in their efforts to identify those responsible, and all commanders will take appropriate action for those service members determined to be involved in this type of behavior. USFK remains committed to being good neighbors with our host nation and maintaining a strong ROK-US alliance.”

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