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Korea: Uneasy Truce in the Land of the Morning Calm (New York: American-Korean Friendship and Information Center, 1976)



Uneasy Truce in the Land of the Morning Calm



Chollima originated as a famous Korean legend about a brave giant who crossed over mountain and sea on a winged steed hundreds of miles a day. This legendary symbol is now used by the people of the DPRK as an inspiration for socialist emulation and achievements in their endeavors to build and strengthen their socialist nation. It symbolically embraces the goal of the Korean Workers Party in socialist construction.


Chollima, according to this legend, is referred to as a winged horse capable of bearing those fortunate enough to mount it, at a rapid speed, cowards the land of happiness.


Published by the American-Korean Friendship and Information Center (AKFIC)

160 Fifth Avenue

Suite 809

New York, N.Y. 10010


Price 25¢




By JOSEPH BRANDT, Executive Director


American-Korean Friendship and Information Center (AKFIC) is an anti-imperialist peace organization representing the best interests of our people and our nation-the U.S.A.


We are devoted to building bridges of friendship between the people of the United States and the people of Korea.


AKFIC's main function is to provide accurate information to the people of our country about the historic background of the Korean people, the Korean nation the 1950-53 war in Korea, the political division of Korea into north and south, and the chief obstacles today to reunification. We believe that to fully comprehend the significance of the current movement among the people of Korea - north and south - for unification, it is imperative that we learn to understand the causes that led to the division of Korea.


AKFIC's role is to explain the U.S. government's monopoly-inspired policies in respect to Korea and to help organize and inspire popular pressure on the government in Washington to abandon 1mpenahsm in Asia, in particular to withdraw all its troops and weaponry from South Korea, including atomic weapons, thus removing the chief obstacle which blocks the people of Korea from determining their own future, developing their own resources for the benefit of their own people, and choosing a unified government in accordance with their own needs.


AKFIC is unalterably opposed to any interference in the internal affairs of the Korean people by outside forces. We are for leaving Korea to the Koreans. AKFIC's objective is to influence a reappraisal of our government's policy in Korea. It is time to replace the 195 3 Armistice Agreement signed by the U.S.A. and the DPRK with a treaty of peace between the people of Korea and the U.S.A. We believe the proposals advanced in the letter from the Supreme Peoples Assembly (Parliament) of the DPRK to the United States Congress (April, 1974) presents a realistic basis for discussion of a peace treaty. (Congressional Record, April 9, 1974)


The replacement of the Armistice Agreement would make possible the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and would rapidly advance people-to-people friendship via trade relations, cultural exchanges and other forms of contact, leading to peace and a spirit of unity in Korea, thus adding impetus to the process of detente in all of Asia.


AKFIC is an anti-imperialist peace organization designed to help alter the seemingly inevitable destiny of young Americans from one of death and destruction to a vision of life, constructive work, friendship and harmony with the Korean people and all the people of Asia and the world. Only a well informed people, learning the truth about contemporary Korea will have the intelligence and capacity to influence and change the course of our government's policy in Korea.


Astudent at Villanova University in Pennsylvania expressed the sentiments of millions of Americans when, following a discussion of Korea in his classroom, he wrote:


"The American public exists under an enforced illusion concerning the validity and successfulness of any socialist type government. Thus, people in our country remain blind to the material and cultural gains attained by such systems; instead of accepting and profiting from such advancements, our people are impervious and aloof to the slightest recognition of a worthwhile organization. However, the increasing open-mindedness and objectivity of some people throughout our country is resulting in a disregarding of our previous brainwashing and the beginning of an appreciation of the astounding accomplishments of many socialist nations. An excellent example of such a continually progressing socialist nation is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which has overcome the effects of four thousand years of serfdom, feudalism, colonialism and imperialism to construct a highly successful socialism."


Prof. George O. Totten, in his Foreword to the book Song of Ariran by Nym Wales and Kim San, expressed the same thought in a different context. He writes:


"The popular apathy and ignorance of Americans concerning the division and occupation of Korea, and the war that grew out of that, left them unprepared to see through the myths and distortions that serve as pretexts for bringing them into an even bigger and more tragic war in Vietnam in which the American government also stepped in to keep the country divided and to hold one part under American dominance."


AKFIC came into existence in 1971. Close to one hundred initiating sponsors, including men and women from a broad range of occupations and interests, became the initiating force that gave birth to this Center. That same year they published a Position Paper "Operation War Shift,'' which became the program upon which the activities of the Center continued to be based.


While individually the sponsors represent different philosophical and political beliefs, they all share an anti-imperialist conviction which unites them in a deep feeling of opposition to the U.S. government's continued presence in South Korea against the wishes of the Korean people and its continued use of South Korea as a military base for future aggression, first and foremost in Korea, and elsewhere in Asia. It is this presence of foreign troops on the soil of Korea that represents a major threat to peace, interfering with the process of the independent and peaceful reunification of the country.


AKFIC is guided by and composed of peace advocates, artists and professional persons, trade unionists, clergymen and women, students and members of minority groups who, because of their color, know only too familiarly the proclivity of U.S. imperialism to seek to dominate people of color-Black, brown, red and yellow.


AKFIC is politically independent but not neutral. We are partisan in the struggle between the socialist Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North) and the neo-colonialist military dictatorship of South Korea which is foisted upon Korea by U.S. and Japanese imperialism. We fully support the great achievements made by the people of the DPRK under socialism; and we actively support the efforts of the people and government of the North, who, together with the people of South Korea, wish to unity their nation and their people, independently, peacefully and democratically, without interference from outside forces.


The structure of our Center is quite simple. It is not a membership organization. It has as its base of organization sponsors, thousands of supporters on mailing lists, subscribers and readers of our publication and literature. Many of them express their support with financial contributions.


AKFIC has an Executive Board and Officers who meet periodically to plan the program and activities.


AKFIC publishes an informed periodical titled Korea Focus, which has already achieved a reputation in many educational centers and among other Americans concerned with peace in Korea.


The Center organizes forums, film showings, visual slide lectures; it places advertisements in the press; it supplies information about internal conditions in Korea and foreign policy matters relating to Korea.


AKFIC publicizes and circulates pamphlets, brochures and other printed matter in large quantities which are mailed and distributed to thousands of Americans.

Governments establish diplomatic relations between countries, which is normal and expected if nations are to live in peace with each other. But such diplomatic relations do not, ipso facto, guarantee people-to-people friendship.


The guarantee that diplomatic relations between countries will prove fruitful rests upon the development of friendship between the people of the respective countries. That is why we invite you:


• To become a sponsor of our organization.

• To participate in our activities.

• To subscribe to and read, our publication, Korea Focus.

• To take an interest in the development of relations between the U.S. and Korea, north and south.

• To give us a helping financial hand.


Whatever contributions you make in whatever way you choose, you are actively participating in the great crusade of mankind, through detente and peaceful co-existence, to make war between nations and peoples a ghastly memory of the past.


To this end we present in the following pages a revised edition of our first Position Paper “Operation War Shift”, which was published for the first time in 1971 and became the foundation for the organization and activities of AKFIC.


This brochure is the result of the collective efforts of the members of AKFIC's Executive Board and Korea Focus Editorial Board. It was prepared for publication by a group of active sponsors of ourCenter.




Korea. The name is like a cry to the conscience of world. It is called "the land of morning calm," yet despite the poetry of the phrase, it has been the scene of rape, war, and plunder by invading powers for generations-even for centuries.


The lovely peninsula of Korea is a land of rugged mountains and sparkling waters, bounded by China and Russia on the north, China's mainland across the Yellow Sea, and Japan across the Eastern Sea(which is arbitrarily called the Japan Sea by the Japanese). It is the size of New England and the climate has the same variety. Korea is filled with the beautiful remnants of its ancient civilization, which is quite different from that of other countries of the Far East. One of the reasons for this is that the Koreans are an ancient and homogeneous race, distinct from both the Chinese and Japanese. They are thought to be the descendants of two strains, the nomadic tribes of Mongolia and the emigres from central Asia.


The recorded history of Korea begins in the twelfth century B.C., when Kija, a Chinese scholar, established at Pyongyang a colony which exerted a cultural influence upon the people settled in the country.


By the middle of the first century B.C., however, three small Korean kingdoms had emerged: Kokuryo in the Yalu River valley, Paekche to the south of the Han River, and Silla in the southeast corner of the peninsula. The Kingdom of Kokuryo (73 B.C.- A.D. 668), which had conquered the Chinese colony at Pyongyang by the fourth century, was mostly mountainous and unsuitable for farming. Thus the people were hunters and fishermen, artists and artisans. It was at this time that the newly invented Chinese official style of writing was introduced to Korea, followed by the classics of Confucius and Lao-tse, and Buddhism.


The Kingdom of Paekche (18 B.C.-A.D. 660) introduced Buddhist scriptures and images to Japan for the first-time in the year 552. At the same time astronomy, geography, medicine, agriculture, metallurgy, and music were brought there. The Japanese natives were fascinated.


It is interesting to note here that while a great number of Korean scholars and priests, artists and artisans were sent to Japan to enlighten the backward natives on the island, the sons of the Korean privileged class were sent to China to further their studies ofChinese civilization. Thus Korea served as the bridge of learning between China and Japan.


Prior to the period of modern colonialism, Korea had been invaded by various dynasties and foreign feudal states, but had always waged heroic wars of resistance against the invaders.


When not preoccupied with warding off invasion and occupation, they vigorously developed their own distinctive culture, defending it together with their land in times of invasion and occupation.


Despite very long foreign domination, the Korean people preserved their own language, their distinctive form of dress and customs and everything else that goes to make up national culture.


Hence today's struggle for reunification of north and south, and the passionate will of the people to eliminate all vestiges of alien, foreign occupation – the U.S. imperialist military presence in south Korea (there are no foreign troops in north Korea, the DPRK) is rooted in centuries of heroic wars of resistance against foreign invaders and occupation.


There was the Peasant War of 1894, which started in the south during the feudal period; the historical March 1, 1919 uprising, which also started in the south and the continued struggles of the south Korean people taking on many forms during the Synghman Rhee regime, and now the Park Chung Hee regime, for the elimination of foreign invading forces (U.S. imperialists) from the soil of Korea.


In his book, "Korea Today", Harvard University Press, Mr. George M. McCune succinctly summarized this historic character of Korea, as follows:


"The long historical continuity, during which Korean cultural and social patterns became firmly fixed, has left a unique heritage to the Koreans. They became a nation of one race, one language, one culture, and one proud past. The homogeneity of the Korean people is a significant factor in an evaluation of Korean political problems. Whatever disunity and diversity appears on the Korean political stage are not products of fundamental differences in race or culture within the Korean community, but are consequences of less substantial causes."


The history of Korea, however, and particularly for Americans, has been presented with deliberate distortion and pseudo-facts to the point where it is today perhaps the most misunderstood and confusing area of the world. It is also potentially one of the most dangerous focal points for the peace of the world.


The peril bears a "Made in U.S.A." label, and the responsibility of the U.S. public in the situation is heavy. Yet the public cannot accept and act upon its responsibility to avert another disastrous war in Korea unless it is apprised of the truth about Korea. That is the purpose of this information paper.


The continuity of the history of the last three decades is instructive. The year 1950 witnessed the beginning of the war in Korea. The U.S. war in Southeast ·Asia was launched in 1960. The decade of the 1970s opened with a promise of peace in Southeast Asia, but with a threat of new aggression to the north, in Korea.


In a letter to a U.S. peace organization in November 1969, Yongjeung Kim, president of the Korean Institute in Washington, wrote: "If the United States stays in Korea to keep its 'friends' in power, Korea may soon turn into a 'second Vietnam.' Peace in Vietnam alone will not stop American bloodshed in Asia. A greater menace is building up in Korea. Evil forces are fanning flames which can scorch the earth. The American people should be alert to this smoldering danger before it is too late.”


One year later, in November 1970, Yongjeung Kim, disturbed by the lack of action on Korea in the previous year, sent a cablegram directly to President Park Chung Hee of South Korea urging him to negotiate with President Kim II Sung of North Korea to resolve the problem of national reunification. He insisted that the government at Seoul move immediately for the withdrawal of all United States forces from South Korea, and the withdrawal of South Korean forces from Vietnam, where they were 'achieving a notorious reputation for bestiality.


In point of fact, the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea had for years put forward proposal after proposal for the peaceful reunification of Korea. But the initiatives were rebuffed or ignored by the government at Seoul, with the tacit support of the government and the armed forces of the United States.


The government at Pyongyang in its proposals had expressed its willingness, despite the presence of United States troops on Korean soil, to enter negotiations for the exchange of mail, visits, and trade, and otherwise normalize relations between North and South. It was willing to talk to the present authorities in South Korea about reunification provided that "they take an independent stand, abandoning their reliance on outside forces."


Throughout South Korea today workers, students, professionals, and religious groups are struggling against tremendous obstacles to achieve the reunification of Korea - a condition which all objective observers agree is the desire of the overwhelming majority of the people of the South, as well as the North.


But there is a necessary concomitant to this action: a major undertaking by the anti-war forces in the country' of the occupying power-the United States-to seek to stem the grave danger of a new war in Koea. Utmost pressure must still be exerted upon the government in Washington to abandon its disastrous policy in Asia, to withdraw all its troops and weapons of war from South Korea, and to permit the people of Korea to determine their own future, develop their own resources for the benefit of their own people, and choose a form of government according to their own needs and desires. On an immediate basis, there must be concerted pressure against continuing United States military appropriations for South Korea.


Slowly, as events unfold at the United Nations, and as new initiatives are undertaken by the North Korean government, the conditions for such pressure are made more favorable, to an extent. But it cannot be emphasized strongly enough that the prime condition for such pressure is an enlightened and informed American public.




The Korea peninsular in Northeast Asia divides the Yellow Sea form the Sea of Japan (East Sea). With a land mass of about 85,000 square miles, it has an 11-mile border with the Soviet Union (Siberia) and a long Yalu River-Tumen River border with the People's Republic of China (Man-churia). Since 1945, it has been demarcated at the 38th parallel into "two Koreas."


To the south is the ·Republic of Korea (ROK) (pop. 33,000,000), with its capital at Seoul, comprising 38,000 square miles. It was traditionally an agricultural region and until the end of World War II supplied a large part of Japan's food needs. In the last years it has been developed into an industrial base, mainly with (first) American and (now increasingly) Japanese capital. It supplies the capitalist world with 13 percent of its tungsten requirements, and has been expanding its textile industry for export. In 1974, the textile industry accounted for about 30 percent of all employment, although unemployment was increasing because of the hard-bargaining of its Western customers.


It has an ostensibly democratic form of government which has been all but eroded by its president, Park Chung Hee; an elected assembly, more often in a state of dissolution than in session, and a constitution which has been revised to make Park a virtual dictator. It also has a standing army of more than 600,000 (the sixth largest in the world), thousands of armed reservists, a constabulary of a million, an armed police force (overt and covert) of hundreds of thousands, and a protecting occupation force of 43,000 United States troops, under the flag of the United Nations but responsible only to Washington. The United State;-commander in chief has tactical control also over the South Korean forces.


To the north is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (pop. 14,000,000), with its capital at Pyongyang, comprising 47,000 square miles. It has a large industrial base, and ranks among the first five countries in the world in the output of tungsten, graphite, and magnesite. Under Japanese colonial rule, this part of Korea was a food-deficit area. It is now self-sufficient in food. It has a socialist form of government; with a President (Kim Il Sung), who was a national hero in the resistance against the Japanese occupation, a national assembly (Supreme People's Assembly), and a standing army estimated (by Western sources) at 3)0,000. It has also a highly disciplined people’s militia of more than a million. There are no foreign troops on North Korean sod.




For almost seventy years, ever since Japan imposed a "protectorate" over Korea in 1905, the Korean people have been denied their full national rights. During this "protectorate" period the Japanese imperialist aggressors stifled the development of Korean national economy and turned the country into their commodity market, robbing the nation and people of food and raw materials.

Whatever industrial establishments were promoted was entirely for the strategic aims of Japanese imperialism to facilitate their aggression in Asia and in preparation for their aggression in World War II. Consequently, the economic character of Korea was divided geographically. The north, which possesses a great deal of natural resources, water power, etc. became relatively industrialized much faster than the south, which became the main source for agriculture. This development continued for twenty-eight years.


During the period of the "protectorate" the Japanese introduced one of the most brutal, oppressive colonial regimes in the history of imperialism. Insurrections were drowned in blood baths. The country's human and material resources were exploited in an intolerable way, ground into the military machine that Japan was building up to further her plans for the conquest of China and the rest of Asia.


The conditions of the Korean people during the 1930s was best characterized by the Japanese Governor General Ugaki, who, in the 1930s, admonished his troops and the Japanese exploiters to drive and squeeze the Korean laborers "until they extract oil from stones." (Dae Sook Suh, "The Korean Communist Movement," p. 121)


Use of the Korean language was forbidden, names had to be changed into Japanese, even the wearing of national dress was banned; exploitation reached the level of forcing the annual cropping of women's hair, like sheep, for sale as a commodity.


Five thousand patriots arrested in 1937 were executed to the last man and woman, in March 1945, on the eve of the final victory over the Japanese occupiers and the liberation of Korea.


Japanese rule over Korea came to an end on August 15, 1945, when the main Japanese forces in Korea were caught 10 a giant encirclement by the Soviet army, and finally disposed of with the aid of the Korean Revolutionary Forces under Kimll Sung. The Soviet army entered the war against Japan by agreement with the United States at Potsdam in July 1945.


At Potsdam, the 38th Parallel was discussed by the United States and the Soviet Union only as a line indicating the northernmost range of United States air operations. One month later, in August 1945, the United States government unilaterally fixed the area south of the 38th Parallel as a zone of occupation.


By the time MacArthur's forces arrived on September 8, 1945, the Japanese had been disarmed and rounded up everywhere in the south. The leaders of the People's Committees who had taken over the administration, eagerly awaited the arrival of the U.S. troops to hand over their captives.


On September 8, 1945, a popular-front government the Korean People's Republic-replaced the


Japanese authorities, set up a capital at Seoul, and exercised political authority over all of Korea. It was headed by a non-Communist newspaper editor, Lyuh Woon Hyun, who sought to establish cordial relations with the American occupation army in the belief that the United States authorities would acknowledge his government's popularity-and jurisdiction- throughout Korea.


The United States command, however, rebuffed Lyuh's overtures, replaced his administrators (including police) with the defeated Japanese, and, in December 1945, suppressed the Lyuh administration completely. As part of this maneuver, politician-in-exile Syngman Rhee was brought back to Korea from Washington and put forward as the American-sponsored leader.


To the dismay of the Korean patriots in the south, one of the first acts of General Hodge, who commanded the U.S. forces, was to order the Japanese military Governor-General Abe, and all other Japanese officials to remain at their posts and that they be restored to office if dismissed. Furthermore, a typical Proclamation of MacArthur, in his name, was posted all over South Korea stating that


"All power over the territory of Korea south of 38° latitude and the people thereof, will be, for the present, exercised under my authority. Persons will obey my orders and orders issued under my authority. Acts of resistance to the occupying forces, or any acts which may disturb the public peace and safety will be punished severely. For all purposes during the military control, English will be the official language..."


A second Proclamation provided that anyone willfully not adhering to the above Proclamation..."shall, upon conviction by the Military Occupation Court, suffer death or such other punishment as the Court may determine..."


The U.S. thus proceeded to set up a Military Occupation Regime, violating the Potsdam Agreement.


While this was happening in the south of Korea, north of the 38th parallel, the Soviet Union did just the opposite. It handed over effective power to the existing Peoples Committees. The Proclamation issued by Soviet Colonel-General Chistiakov, commander of the Soviet Army in Korea, after referring to the crushing of the Japanese forces declared:


"Korea has become a country of freedom. However, this is only the first step in a new era of Korean history...The happiness of the Korean people will only be achieved by the heroic efforts that you the Korean people will exert...You have attained liberty and independence. Now everything is up to you..."


In the south, the U.S. military government continued to solidify its occupation by stating:


"All laws which were in force, regulations, orders, notices or other documents issued by any other former Government of Korea having full force of law on August 9, 1945, will continue in full force and effect until repealed by express orders of the Military Government of Korea..."


Thus, the only difference between the former Japanese occupation regime of Korea, was that the Japanese language, was replaced by the English language as the official language of the ruling regime.


Under U.S. orders and supervision Japanese-trained Korea police went about disbanding the Peoples Committees, putting to death those who resisted and the Koreans were treated as "enemies" just as they were for 35 years under Japanese rule.


For more than two years following this maneuver the democratic forces in South Korea were harassed by the 80,000~man United States occupation force, and strikes and demonstrations were brutally suppressed. In May 1948, Syngman Rhee was formally installed as president of a Republic of Korea.


Syngman Rhee was not slow in introducing a reign of terror. Even the United Nations Commission reported in August of 1949 that under Rhee's "National Peace Protection" Act, 89,710 persons had been arrested in south Korea in the eight months prior to April 30,1949. Kim Hyo Sok, Rhee's Minister of the Interior, who went to the north at the beginning of the war in June 1950; estimated that between August 1945 and the start of' the war on June 25, 1950, one quarter of a million people had been massacred and 600,000 imprisoned m the south during "Liberation - American-style.'


According to objective observers and honest journalists such as Wilfred Burchett, who conducted independent investigations and researched factual material and documents from many sources actual warfare and the military attacks against the north; began in August and September of 1949, and not in June of 1950.


During that period, repeated attacks were made along key sectors of the 38th parallel by Rhee's forces. Important heights were seized in the western and central sectors and deep penetrations into north Korean territory were made in the eastern sector.


During that same period, U.S. military "advisors" were in complete control of Rhee's military operations.


On June 5, 1950, three weeks before the official start of the war, Brigadier-General W. L. Roberts, head of the U.S. Military Mission, in an interview with Margaret Higgins of the New York Herald Tribune, let the cat out of the bag when he said:


"I got at least thirteen to fourteen Americans with every division. They work with the Korean officers ... They live right with them in the field and at the front and stay with them in battle and rest periods..."


This was the first admission that there was a "front" and "battles" in which U.S. officers had taken part, long before June 25, 1950, when the official war was supposed to have started.


What took place on June 25, 1950 was that on that day the north Korean forces decided that the U.S. admitted "front" and "battles" of the assaulting Rhee forces had to be stopped, repulsed and chased back, after the north Koreans had exhausted all possibilities of peaceful solution. Washington proceeded to oversee the fashioning of a government in South Korea comprised of hated political and industrial hustlers who simple switched their allegiance from the Japanese to the U.S. monopolists.


In June 1950, the Swiss newspaper Die Tat characterized the South Korean regime in this fashion: 'President Syngman Rhee and his clique can maintain their limited authority in Seoul and in the larger cities only through a regimen of military and police terror, and thanks only to American aid. The South Korean state system, which has stood on weak underpinnings from the very beginning, has to resort to open totalitarian methods."


If anything, the current situation in South Korea is worse; but the Swiss comment at that time took on added significance, coming as it did on the eve of the outbreak of the Korean War. But first, to retrace some diplomatic history:


After long and fruitless negotiations between the Soviet Union and the United States concerning the establishment of a provisional national Korean government under international trusteeship—negotiations which were foredoomed to failure because of the institution of the Cold War-the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was established at Pyongyang on Sept. 9, 1948. It was not recognized by the United States. (In this connection, it should be clear, because of subsequent United Nations involvement in Korea, that the Charter of the UN specifically denies the UN competence in questions arising from World War II, such as arrangements for enemy-occupied territory-as was the case in Korea.)


The Soviet army left the area above the 38th Parallel completely before the end of 1948. According to Pentagon statements the United States withdrew its army officially from the area to the south in June 1949, leaving behind a South Korean "constabulary" under United States tutelage, a cadre of 500 American officers- and a condition of stark poverty and unemployment. The North Koreans have insisted that in fact the United States has maintained a military presence below the 38th Parallel ever since the end of World War II in 1945.


By the spring of 1950, close to 50,000 persons were in prision in South Korea charged with violating Rhee's catch-all National Security Law. Guerrilla movements were being formed in the mountains, students were engaging in mass protests, and strikes and labor unrest was mounting. Rhee appealed to Washington for massive assistance. John Foster Dulles, then Republican adviser to Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and later to become Secretary of State himself, went to Seoul and, in a speech to the South Korean assembly, pledged ill-out American support against "the encroachment of Communism." At the United States high command in Tokyo, there was a quickening pace of activity. General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme United States commander in Asia, journeyed from Tokyo to Seoul to announce: "There can be no compromise ... We must help anyone who will fight Communism."


Dominating United States policy at this time was the "loss" of China-to the Chinese people--only a few short months before. The decision had already been made to hold on to Taiwan at all costs. The situation of Syngman Rhee in South Korea-corruption, mutinies in the armed forces, summary executions of patriots, and raging inflation- paralleled that of the last days of Chiang Kai-shek.


Rhee's desperation was exemplified by the South Korean elections of May 30, 1950, in which fewer than 20 percent of his supporters were elected, despite the extensive use of thugs to force people to the polls, and to intimidate them when they got there.


There was desperation of a different kind—economic—in the United States. A recession had set in late in 1948; unemployment had risen to a postwar high of 6.6 percent, and the economy was stagnating. Production had dropped by 15 percent, profits were down by 33 percent, and orders for durable goods, principally iron and steel, were off by 30percent. The Truman Doctrine in Europe-initially massive support for Greece and Turkey- was not stemming the decline. It was time for a Truman Doctrine in Asia to take effect to bolster further the American economy, and that is what Dulles and MacArthur were involved in.


Something had to happen-and it did.




On June 25, 1950, war erupted in Korea between North and South. Although most people in the United States were led to believe that the war was instigated by the North, no such proof has ever been established. In fact, historians Joyce and Gabriel Kolko in The Limits of Power: The World and United States Foreign Policy, 1945-54 (Harper & Row, 1972), document the weakness of the "North Korea aggression" theory. Further, the first news stories at the outbreak of the war- later suppressed- reported incursions by Rhee's armies into North Korea where they were repulsed and pursued into the South. Whatever the origin of the fighting, it was clear that Rhee's' days were numbered without a national emergency and a national mobilization.


What iskept away from the American people in history books, in educational textbooks and in the journalistic reports of the media in respect to the Korean war, are the facts regarding the last minute efforts made by the leaders of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea to stop and avert such armed conflict.


After Syngman Rhee openly boasted in an interview with the Vice President of the United Press that he would "occupy Pyongyang within three days" the leaders of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea responded to this by renewing efforts to avert a fratricidal war.


In early June 1950, Pyongyang offered cooperation with all politicians 1n the south, except Syngman Rhee and seven other notorious collaborators with the Japanese. A personal invitation was issued to three hundred members of the South Korean Parliament and other prominent south Korean leaders, to participate in another unification conference.


On June 19 I950, the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly in Pyongyang proposed to the National Assembly in Seoul that the two bodies join together and achieve peaceful reunification of the country. The replyto this was a well organized and prior prepared major military assault from the south during the dawn hours of Tune 25, 1950. It was this assault which called forth the powerful counteroffensive launched by the north a few hours later.


War was not in the interest of the government at Pyongyang. The new socialist country was making remarkable economic strides. Kim Il Sung's prestige was enormous, North and South. On this foundation, the northern government had made repeated overtures toward reunification, but these moves had been consistently rebuffed.


The complete lack of sincerity of the Seoul regime was further exposed when Park Chung Hee advanced, on June 23, 1973, the now well-known policy of “two-Koreas" to be admitted to the United Nations, in this way perpetuating the division of the north and south for an indefinite historical period.


This was countered by President Kim 11 Sung on the eve of the same day. The full program of President Kim 11 Sung, detailing the five-point program are included in Korea Focus, Vol. 2, No. 2.

The continued demagogic position of the Seoul regime was further exposed when they proposed to sign a "non-aggression pact" with the DPRK. The response to all these demagogic proposals was made by President Kim 11 Sung in a speech welcoming the President of Algeria. He said:


"As is well known, those who really command the south Korean forces are not the south Korean authorities, but the Commander of the U.S. troops, still bearing the 'UN' insignia. It is the U.S. imperialists who control all the means of war from rifles to artillery. If, despite its acts, the south Korean government envisages concluding a ‘pact of non-aggression' with us, while leaving the aggressive troops of U.S. imperialism in south Korea, then this is a matter of such stupidity that it is not worth dismissing…


"We further proposed that independently of the existing coordinating committee on North-South Relations, a great National Assembly should be convened or a conference for politlcal discussion between north and south m which would take part representatives of different political parties, social organizations and personages from various sections of the population in the south. . . .”


In a discussion which Wilfred Burchett had with the President of the DPRK, Kim Il Sung, he quotes him as having said that in addition to the many political proposals made during the session of the Coordination Commission on Unification, the DPRK made the following concrete offers for economic cooperation.


"We said: - 'Why send your workers abroad to places like West Germany and Brazil when we could give them work? Why import iron ore at high cost from abroad when there is plenty for all Korea in the north? Send your workers to us, we will give them equipment and they can mine the iron ore and send it south as much as you want, without cost.'


"They refused. On another occasion after human and material losses from floods in the south, we said: 'We now have much experience in irrigation and flood prevention works. We will send you engineers and equipment. They can work under your orders wherever you need them.' 'No.' was the reply. 'Communism would flow with the irrigation waters.' We also suggested that the south Korean fishermen come and fish in our waters. They are having a bad time in the south because Japan has exported many of its pollution-making industries to south Korea. The waters are polluted and this has had a disastrous effect on fishing. We are one nation. There is plenty of fish for all in the northern waters, we said. But they refused, as they have refused every concrete proposal towards normalizing relations."


Although the Soviet Union was universally charged by United States officials and in the American press with responsibility for the outbreak of war Moscow was obviously caught by surprise by the war. Its representative had been absent from the United Nations Security Council because of the UN’s refusal to seat the People's Republic of China in its rightful permanent place. The Soviet delegates were not present evenwhen the Security Council sanctioned the creation of a United Nations "unified command" (July 7, 1950) as an umbrella for the United States to intervene with troops in south Korea.


The United States Seventh Fleet had already been dispatched to the South China Sea ( where it remains to this day) Without the presence of this fleet, and without the incursion by United States ground and air forces, the war in Korea would have been over quickly, and Korea would have been unified by the decision Of the  people of Korea.


General MacArthur ignored repeated warnings by the Chinese to keep away from their borders. When MacArthur made clear his intention to cross into Manchuria, Chinese volunteer armies entered the war on the side of the North Koreans, and together they pushed the invading armies south. A military stalemate ensued, and this led to truce talks undertaken at the initiative of the Soviet Union. Disillusionment among the American public with the war was expressed by the election to the presidency in 1952 of General Dwight Eisenhower, campaigning on a pledge to end the war in Korea. On July 27, 1953, a military armistice was agreed to at Panmunjom by the North Koreans and the Chinese on the one side, and the United Nations Command (read: the United States) on the other. (The South Korea Government did not sign the armistice agreement)


The toll was enormous: countless thousands of Korean dead some of them victims of experimentation by the United States forces with new methods of killing; 142,000 American casualties; devastation in Korea that defied belief; $80 billion in military expenditures by the United States, with much of the profit going into the accounts of U.S. and Japanese munitions makers. Yet, withal, an unswerving determination on the part of the Koreans to rid the country of foreign invaders and unify the land.


The armistice began uneasily, and continued that way. There were frequent clashes and reports of clashes; in the so-called demilitarized zone. The South has charged infiltration by "agents" of the North, and the North has charged incursions by the South, and by United States military reconnaissance planes and ships. The seizure by the North .Koreans of the United States spy ship Pueblo m 1968 created an international incident, and ended only when the United States government conceded that the Navy craft had violated the territorial waters of North Korea. The crew was then released. In 1969 the North Koreans shot down an American intelligence plane, and there have been continuing incidents of interception of South Korean ships within the North Korean coastal limits. In all, Pyongyang has compiled a record of more than 50,000 alleged violations of North Korean territory since the 1953 armistice.




America military assistance and economic investment enabled Syngman Rhee to maintain power in an administration marked by repression, terror, electoral fraud, bribery, and corruption. By 1960, popular revulsion with the Rhee regime had reached such proportions that the United States was compelled to dispose of Rhee in March of that year. The immediate spark was a massive uprising of university students. An unstated reason was Rhee's stubborn conditions for the return of Japanese capital, a development which was becoming a vital part of  United States policy in Asia.


Rhee was succeeded as head of the South Korean government by John M. Chang, a vacillating man of the middle, friendly to the United States but aware of the intense feeling in the country after years of repression, and the desire for reunification with the North. Demonstrations for unity were an almost daily occurrence, and a student march was scheduled to culminate in a meeting with North Korean students on May 19, 1961. The day before the meeting, Chang was removed in a military coup, under the pretext that his policies were paving the way for a "Communist takeover" of the government. General Park Chung Hee emerged as the "strong man." (A record of Park's background may be obtained on request from the AKFIC.)


The Park regime has, if anything, been even more repressive than that of Syngman Rhee. A vast network of spies and informers infests the country, under the direction of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. Thousands have been imprisoned, first under the Anti-Communist Act of 1961, and Korea is, in short, a police state whose government then under the succeeding laws forced through by Park, each more stringent than the previous one depends for its existence on the support and approval of the United States government.


In the last months of 1972, Park dismantled the Constitution, disbanded the national assembly, and irnposed extraordinary martial law. Each page of the Seoul newspapers earned a small box reading: "Passed-Military Censorship." In January 1974 of the government-or even of the repressive laws- punishable by death. The laws were aimed primarily at the students who once again were organizing vast demonstrations.


But the students were not alone. Journalists, Christian clergy and lay persons, and workers and


peasants also were rounded ~p in a desperate attempt to stifle dissent. In June 1974 the police reached out for a former president of Korea, Yun Po Sun, a known anti-Communist, on charges of assisting the student movement. His arrest came during the trial of Kim Dae Jung, an opposition leader who had been kidnapped a year before in Japan by the Korean CIA and forcibly returned to Seoul. That incident had caused a scandal in Japan, which had been diverted by a deceptive promise by Park that Kim Dae Jung would be freed to leave Korea. He was of course detained, imprisoned, and placed on trial on specious charges concerning violations of electoral campaign laws.


After a new emergency decree in April 1974, Jerome A. Cohen, director of the East Asian Legal Studies Center at Harvard, said Park had “removed the last prop from our Korean policy" The decree was followed by the arrest of 240 dissidents. In a letter to the New York Times on May 28, 1974, Cohen joined Gregory Henderson of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University to write:


"Seoul is an armed camp under a garrison commander. Other Korean troops are under the tactical command of a four-star American general and can be ordered to suppress with American arms the slightest expression of Korean democracy."


In similar vein, Edwin 0. Reischauer, former United States ambassador to Japan and now University Professor at Harvard, cited the lesson of Vietnam in warning the United States to extricate itself from Korea. "President Park;' he said, "ismaking a mockery of the democratic institutions of his country and seriously undermining the loyalties of his people." He urged Washington to cut back sharply its military appropriations for Korea (pegged at $253-milllontor.T974) and to begin withdrawing troops. "Only the Koreas can decide their own future," he said.


On June 8, 1974, Richard Halloran, who has covered Korea for years for the New York Times, wrote from Seoul: "No one knows what's going on. The government operates in tight secrecy . . . People are tense .. At the center of all this is the austere and aloof president . . . who has steadily gathered power to himself and crushed opposition by clapping into jail all those who cry for a measure of freedom." For saying less than this, Park banished Elizabeth Pond, correspondent of the Christian Science Monitor, from South Korea.


In rigged trials in July 1974, the military courts dominated by Park sentenced 14 persons to death and scores more to life or long term imprisonment on charges of having plotted student uprisings. Among those doomed was the popular poet Kim Chi Ha, and five students from Seoul National University. In addition, a show trial was arranged for the former president, Yun Po Sun.


The government's explanation for its draconian measures continues to be the "threat from the North" and the need for discipline to achieve economic progress. Economically, there is a gloss of prosperity in the cities, and the growth rate superficially has been favorable, although declining in the last three years. But, according to the LondonFinancial Times, this growth rate is dependent on the low wage rate of the 1.5 million emp1oyees of manufacturing industries, and South Korea's ability to export itsproducts, now principally finished textile goods.


United States investments in South Korea, which in the past were limited to textile, have increasingly expanded into the electronics industry involving some of the biggest American firms These companies have taken advantage of South Korea's anti-union and anti-strike laws, and have shipped parts for assembly in Korean factories where workers, at starvation-wage levels, turn out finished products for shipment to markets in Asia and the United Sates.


United States support for international runaway shops to South Korea, and the massive support given to Japanese monopolies, have increased the exploitation of South Korean workers while at the same time eliminating tens of thousands of jobs for American workers. The result has been rising unemployment in the United States in the textile, shoe and leather, and electronic appliance industries.


While publicly the Seoul government raises the spectre of the threat from the North, privately it reassures foreign investors that there is no danger. Political instability in South Korea has caused a decline of American investments from a peak of $43 million in 1970 to $13 million in 1973. At the same time, however, Japanese investment in 1973 rose to $295 million. Some of this money, of course, is United States dollars invested in Japanese industry. Among the American investors in South Korea either directly or via Japan, are Control Data, Dupont, International Paper, International Harvester, and Husky Oil.


For the South Korean people, economic problems, particularly inflation are adding to the discontent. Wholesale prices rose 30 percent from January to May 1974. Consumer prices rose 17 percent, and the cost of rice, the Korean staple, increased 60 percent. Half the monthly income of the average family goes for rice alone.


In the countryside, the condition of the peasant remains at an extremely poor level, and thousands are pouring into the cities in search of a livelihood. What they find was described in an article in the Paris daily Le Monde:


"Many workers, particularly in small and medium size firms, work in conditions reminiscent of 19th century Europe, with a working day of 10 hours or more, a deplorable lack of facilities, no holidays and no social benefits. . . . The trade unions that exist are the tools of the employers and the government. Social security is virtually nonexistent. The medical problem is particularly acute. If a sick man cannot pay, he will not be admitted to a hospital. . . South Korean farming is still very backward. It lacks capital, machinery, and infrastructure. Only 20 percent of all roads can be used by motor vehicles and 40 percent of all villages have no electricity..."




In the preface to his book Again Korea, WilfredBurchett, perhaps the most knowledgeable Western reporter in Asia, wrote in January 1968:


"When I last saw North Korea 13 years ago, it was a country totally devastated- the prototype of the devastation in North Vietnam by terrifying, indiscriminate, and unrestricted use of United States air power. Not a city, village, factory, school, hospital, or pagoda was left intact. In the name of the United Nations, North Korea s populated areas had been reduced to wastelands of ashes and rubble, its factories to heaps of twisted iron." United States authorities estimated that it would take 100 years to rebuild North Korea.


In the June 1970 issue of Monthly Review, Ellen Brun, a Danish writer, recorded her impressions of a visit to North Korea a few months earlier. She reported a country entirely rebuilt from the ruins, .a well-dressed, well-fed, and well-educated population. She wrote:


“Today, almost everything which meets the eye, from the smallest consumer goods to the most impressive products, has been produced in the country itself: electric locomotives, tractors, houses, bulldozers, cranes, buses, and military vehicles."


In February 1974 Burchett returned for another visit and wrote in the weekly Guardian, published in New York: "No objective person can visit North Korea and not be astounded by the economic progress in all fields, at the well-being of the people, the prosperity of the villages, and the great popularity of President Kim. Kim's esteem is due not only because the progress and prosperity are attributed to his leadership of the Korean Workers Party, but because almost everyone seems to know him personally. In four visits to the DPRK in five years and travels to virtually every corner of the country, I have yet to visit a factory, farm or school that had not been visited several times by the indefatigable President. If his leadership is highly personalized and propagandized in a way that seems strange to Western eyes and ears, this seems to be the way the Korean people like it. After a long history of disaster through disunity, they seem glad to have a leader capable of leading the nation forward."


The driving force behind the progress has been the principle of Juche-"reliance on own forces"- as advocated by Kim. And at the heart of Juche is a system of factory and farm management which has changed personalized authority to a collective system under which the initiative at the factory bench and in the field is given full play. In each factory or farm, politics is in command in the form of a party committee, under which there is a general staff headed by the chief engineer (in a factory) or the cooperative manager (on a farm). Farm workers and factory workers get the same benefits and privileges. For example, mothers receive 77 days’ paid leave at the birth of a child and there are nurseries and kindergarten facilities on every farm, as in every factory. In all of North Korea, there are nursery and kindergarten facilities for 3.5 million children-in a nation of 14 million. And remarkably, in a time of worldwide inflation, and in sharpest contrast with South Korea, the prices of staples in North Korea are going down.


The contrast was presented in more technical terms by a German economist, Gerhard Breidenstein, who has been an exchange professor at Yonsei University in Seoul, writing in his article "Economic Comparison of North and South Korea" soon to be published in Korea Focus.


"In all but one of the industrial output categories, the DPRK has the lead over the ROK, even in absolute terms ... The comparison of the per capita income, which in 1970 was 3.4 times higher in the DPRK than in the ROK, is confirmed by the trend of another data collected. If nothing else, the statistics show that the DPRK, and particularly her development strategies and principles of economic organization, deserve much more attention than they have received thus far in capitalist countries. Third world countries have been aware of {these} achievements for several years…While the ROK received tremendous amounts of foreign aid, the DPRK has received very little, if any, outside assistance since the late 1950's. It thus demonstrated that its central ideology (Juche) seems to be a viable and successful development principle."


Hope of reunification remains a dominant feature of life in North Korea. Another overriding consideration is the ever present realization that another devastating conflict is possible. Toward this eventuality, one-third of the North Korean budget is expended for military preparations- a figure which must be taken into account when economic growth – actual and potential-is considered.


Within the socialist bloc, North Korea has maintained a position of solidarity on general principles, yet non-involvement in the conflict between China and the world communist movement. In this regard -perhaps because its war experience is similar- is most often compared with North Vietnam.




However opportunistic his reasons may have been, Park Chung Hee in the summer of 1970 was forced to take public recognition of the hope and aspirations of an artificially divided people to be one nation again. On August 15, 1970, he yielded to the continuing overtures from the North and indicated his willingness to work with Pyongyang for reunification. The first steps were taken through the Red Cross of North and South, and, one year later, in August 1971, meetings of liaison personnel were held in Panmunjom. The next month further meetings produced agreement to establish permanent liaison offices in Panmunjom connected by telephone lines and "full-scale" talks alternating between Seoul and Pyongyang as the sites. Sessions were held on almost a weekly basis.


Meanwhile a separate line of communications was opened in private on a governmental level in May and June 1972, and on July 4, 1972, there was a historic breakthrough with a joint declaration announced simultaneously in Pyongyang and. Seoul. The declaration said that the two sides had made great progress in promoting mutual understanding," and stipulated the following:


(1) Unification should be achieved by Koreans, without interference by other powers, and by peaceful means; (2) political and ideological differences should not be allowed to forestall unity; (3) military provocation and mutual defamation should cease; (4) a "hot line" would be established between North and South; (5) future Red Cross discussions would concentrate on ending the long separation of families by permitting the exchange of mail and visits, and other means of communications. A North-South Coordinating Committee was to be set up with a joint chairmanship under Lee Hu Rak, head of the South Korean CIA, and Kim Yung Ju, director of the Organizational Guidance Department of the North Korean Workers Party.


The committee met several lines into the fall of 1972, and in November of that year issued a communique calling for an end to slandering and defamation, and agreeing to discontinue all propaganda broadcasts by radio and loudspeaker across the demilitarized zone and the distribution of leaflets.


Admittedly, there would be great obstacles to progress, engendered both in Seoul and in Washington (Park's appointment of the chief of the CIA was significant. As was noted in Korea Focus, Vol. I, No. 3, p. 4: "Lest there be any illusions about the rate of progress towards unification, it is clear that the most reactionary forces in South Korea, all of them huddled within and about the government of President Park Chung Hee, will do their utmost to hinder that progress. They will be abetted in their efforts by their counterparts in the governing and industrial establishments of the United States and Japan." But the immediate effect was apparent. Park was forced to convene a special session of the practically defunct national assembly for debate on the joint statement, and in the United States Korea became "news" once again.


The obtuseness of the media of the United States was demonstrated by a New York Times editorial on July 3, 1972, one day before the joint statement was made public, describing Kim 11 Sung's initiative toward unification as a "new honeyed approach" and a "Trojan Horse device." Incredibly, in the face of reports of its own correspondents, it described South Korea as "a country which permits open debate and contested elections." After the joint statement, the Times, in a rarely refreshing display of editorial lucidity, described the accord as "a historical development of the utmost importance for improving the political atmosphere in Asia and in the world." In the last two years, the Times has followed, Korean events with considerably more candor and objectivity.


Park sought to use the joint statement as an excuse for his repressive measures and for the imposition of a new authoritarian constitution on the ground that these moves would enable him to bargain "from a position of strength." At the same time, he reasoned that the seeming moves toward reconciliation would rob his political opposition of a rallying point. Despite these obvious ploys, how- ever, the joint statement clearly represented the aspirations of the Korean people.




As the new events unfolded on the Korean peninsula, the spotlight turned to another stage closer at home: the First Committee and the General Assembly of the United Nations. For years, with various countries fronting for it, the United States had frustrated a genuine debate on Korea, based on the fiction of "the United Nations Command" in Korea, and on the United Nations Commission for the Reunification and Rehabilitation of Korea (UNCURK). For years also, attempts had been made to invite – without conditions- a representative of North Korea to participate in a debate- on Korea. But these efforts failed because of the insistence of the United States and its allied spokesmen that North Korea accept the "competence and authority" of the United Nations in any resolution of the future of Korea.


Pyongyang had consistently refuse to accede to this demand on the reasonable ground that it would be tantamount to giving an occupation force in Korea carte blanche in advance to dictate the terms of a peace settlement. Further, as has been made clear in this paper, Pyongyang has insisted that Korea's future be determined by Koreans alone, without interference by an outside force. And as long as the United Nations provided the “cover of its flag” for the over 38,000 troops of the United States in South Korea, the United Nations remained an outside force. Thus, only the South Koreans had been seated as observers when the First Committee and the General Assembly considered the "Korean item."


As new nations-uncommitted to the United States position, and not as subject to pressure - entered the UN, it became increasingly difficult to keep the North Koreans out by setting conditions. So in 1971 and 1972 Washington employed the procedural device of postponing debate on the Korean question until the following year.


In 1972, however, there was a difference which manifested itself in the resulting vote. The difference was the presence of the delegate of the People’s Republic of China. The Soviet Union, which had traditionally pressed the issue of Korea in the UN, had already placed on the agenda a proposal calling for the withdrawal of the United States forces from Korea, and the dissolution of UNCURK. It withdrew its proposal in favor of one put forward by 13 nations, led by Algeria and including China, calling for the "creation of favorable conditions to accelerate the independent and peaceful reunification of Korea." By a vote of 70 to 35, with 42 abstentions, the Assembly put the question over to 1973. Significantly this was the first time that the No votes and the abstentions together had exceeded the Yes votes. The handwriting was on the wall.


When the UN Assembly met in the fall of 1973, there was still another difference: the presence for the first time of a delegation from North Korea to participate in the debate. The United States had no longer been able to keep them from being invited. At issue was a ''Western" proposal (the


United States, Japan, three "SE1\1U-member nations, and Uruguay and Nicaragua) proposing simultaneous membership in the UN for North and South Korea. This was the "two Koreas” plan, a device to solidify the nation's division. On the other side was an "Eastern" resolution (the Soviet Union, the Mongolian People s Republic, three Middle Eastern states, and several African countries) recommending entry of a "single unified Korea."


On November 21, 1973, the chairman of the First Committee reported an agreement not to put the Korean question to a vote-but this time the victory was not for the United States, but for the proponents of a reunified Korea. The United States, sensing defeat, went along with a consensus decision to dissolve UNCURK and to encourage all moves to expedite the independent, peaceful reunification" of Korea.


In effect, the Assembly agreed that Korea is one country and that reunification was the desired goal. The vote did not mean the immediate withdrawal of the United Nations flag, but the sense of the majority of the organization was clear. The final decision was to come in the Assembly of 1974, the date set for a new vote. Significantly, the majority of the members of the UN seemed to take their cue from the five-point reunification proposal of President Kim, put forward in June. 1973, for a single representation for the Confederated Republic or Koryo (the ancient name of the country) pending the completion of reunification. Actual reunification still faced enormous obstacles.


For over 20 years, the United States exercising the tyranny of a minority in the United Nations has stymied the disengagement of the United Nations from the legacy of the Korean War, 1950-53. The Korean issue has been under d1scuss1off'in the UN for more than 20 years. Despite the slow process of disengaging the UN from Korea, recent annual UNGA sessions have registered steady progress towards such disengagement.


The voting results have shown the growth in the number of countries advocating the withdrawal of foreign troops from South Korea and that the Korean people be allowed, themselves, without outside interference, to settle their own affairs. While the advocates of foreign troops continuing on the territory of South Korea could relatively, with ease, impose their resolutions on the General Assembly in the past, now, however, the situation has changed.


Speaking at the 28th session of UNGA (1973), Ambassador Traore of Mali declared, during the debate on the Korean question, that the UN Assembly had an obligation, if it was to “avoid the bankruptcy of the UN authority” to disengage the UN from the “war of colonial reconquest into which it was dragged in Asia.”


The disengagement of the UN from Korea concerns the withdrawal of foreign troops from South Korea (there are no foreign troops m the DPRK- North Korea) and the dismantling of the UN (military) Command (UNC).


The withdrawal of foreign troops from South Korea and the elimination of the seat of tension in the Korean peninsula is an imperative demand of the times. Over the years continuous support has been given to the Korean people, in and out of the United Nations, by the Soviet Union, other socialist countries and all progressive world public opinion. An end to the foreign occupation of South Korea and the peaceful unification of the country on a democratic basis without intervention from outside forces meets the aspirations of the Korean people and the interests of peace in the Far East.


These foreign troops operating, under UNC, authorized by the UN Security Council in 1950, consist now of over 38,000 U.S. troops, 100 U.S. officers and "token" (UN flag carriers in parades) contingents of  three soldiers each from Thailand and the Philippines.


The UNC also has under its command the Park Chung Hee armed forces, thus placing American generals in overall command of all armed forces in South Korea leading to provocative military actions on the armistice line between north and south, the demarcated 38th Parallel. (See Korea Focus, Vol. I, No. 1, 1972-"The UN Role in the United States War)


The 29th UNGA session of 1974, in discussing the Korean question, was faced with the concrete problem of how to continue the process of disengaging it from the “war of colonial reconquest into which it was dragged in Asia."


To complete this disengagement the UN must agree to order the removal of all foreign troops from South Korea and dismantle the UNC. To that end the First Committee of the 29th UN General Assembly began the debate on the Korean question Nov. 25, 1974, with the participation of the representatives of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and spokesmen for the Park Chung Hee ruling clique of South Korea. The debate concluded on December 9, 1974.


Before the First Committee were two resolutions, a draft resolution on the "withdrawal of all foreign troops stationed in South Korea under the United Nations flag," submitted by the socialist countries and independent, liberated former colonial countries, 40 in all. The draft resolution was supported by many countries in the course of the debate. It reflected the will and aspirations of the Korean people, both north and south, and the peace loving peoples of the world. In the final vote, despite the maneouvers and arm twisting of the United States imperialists, the vote on the resolution was tied, 48 to 48, with 38 abstentions. The results of the voting indicate the continued limitations of the options and maneouver-ability of the U.S. imperialists.


The whole course of the debate and the result of the voting as compared with previous voting on the Korean question clearly attests to the fact that the position of U.S. imperialism is becoming more and more difficult and that we are entering a period when the "Tyranny of the Minority'" in the United Nations is coming to an end.


The second resolution, backed by United States and Japanese imperialists which "expressed the hope that the Security Council …will no doubt give consideration to…the dissolution of the UN Command," was approved 61 to 42, with 32 abstentions.


Despite this, voices demanding an end to U.S. imperialist intervention in the internal affairs of Korea and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea will continue to grow stronger as days go by. The ranks of supporters and sympathizers in support of Korea's independence and peaceful reunification will steadily continue to grow, and while the draft resolution introduced by the socialist and other countries and strongly supported by the DPRK, was unable to muster enough votes for approval this year, the 30th Session of the UInited Nations of 1975 is not far off." The question of Korea will be raised again and no doubt the increased support of the peoples of the world will finally prevail in the United Nations' complete disengagement from Korea.




Four months after the UN resolution of Nov. 21, 1973 an extraordinary event took place in Pyongyang. The Supreme Peoples Assembly of the DPRK, meeting in formal session, dispatched a letter to the Congress of the United States containing proposals for a treaty of peace on the Korean peninsula. Clearly, a major reason was the patent refusal of the government at Seoul to proceed in good faith on the basis of the July 4, 1972, joint statement. The time therefore had come for direct action on a realistic basis.


The armistice of 1953 in the Korean War had been signed by the United States, the DPRK, and the People's Republic of China. Seoul had not been a party to the agreement. The letter to Congress, dated March 25, 1974, declared that with huge armed forces opposing each other, it would be impossible to solve any problems relating to peaceful reunification of Korea. It charged that the United States had encouraged the South Korean authorities to reject a succession of North Korean proposals; had increased its military aid and armed support to South Korea, and had "committed provocations against the North, staged war exercises and perpetrated espionage acts." Against this background, the letter called for joint steps by the United States and the DPRK "to replace the armistice agreement with a peace agreement" that. "brooks no further deiay." It proposed:


1. A non-aggression agreement, with a provision that there be no United States interference in the internal affairs of the · Korean people and no encouragement of repressive measures against the South Korean people by the government at Seoul.


2. A discontinuance by both sides of armament escalation and introduction of new weapons, combat equipment and war supplies in Korea.


3. Withdrawal of all foreign troops from South Korea at the earliest possible date, and an end to the fiction of the "United Nations Command."


4. A guarantee that Korea would not become a military or operational base for any country.


The language was simple and direct, and what was most unusual about the letter was that it in initiated direct contact between the DPRK and a branch of the United States government. Further, the communication seemed to be suggesting to the Congress that it reassert its constitutional authority and responsibility, in the name of the people of the United States, as the sole group empowered to declare war (which it had abdicated in the case of Korea in 1950 and Vietnam in l960) and to establish peace (an opportunity now being presented to it).


Typically, the State Department responded first -and only informally to inquiring reporters- rather than a representative of the Congress, and then only to say that there had been no change in United States policy concerning Korea.


On April 9, 1974, however, Representative Michael Harrington of Massachusetts addressed himself to the question on the floor of the House. He noted the lack of attention being paid to the letter despite "the dramatic change in the North's position on peace talks," and said: "It seems to me that in view of the potential explosiveness of the situation on the Korean peninsula, both the executive and legislative branches of our government should look into the letter. It is certainly in our interest to stop any further aggressive activities and put both sides back on the road to peace." (Congressional Record, Vol. 120, No. 51, pp. 22-47).


In the summer of 1974, the American-Korean Friendship and Information Center sponsored a letter to every United States Representative and Senator, signed by many prominent persons in public life, urging them to "investigate the strange silence concerning the letter from the North Korean Assembly, and, further, to address yourself generally- to the pressing but neglected question of a permanent peace on the Korean peninsula.


Thus, from many directions, pressures were being applied to the United States government to reappraise its Korean policy. It is instructive to take a look at the objectives of that policy.




Through the Cold War years, Washington's Asian policy was aimed' at the containment of China and the Soviet Union and the suppression of all movements of national liberation. That policy, as it concerned Korea, was based on four premises: (1) Korea must be maintained as a base for United States military operations; (2) reunification must be prevented-except under conditions of dominance by-the government at Seoul with the guidance of Washington; (3) Japan would become the moving force, both economically and militarily, in Korea under the protection of the United States nuclear umbrella and in partnership with American monopolies; (4) since the implementation of the policy would be impossible with half of Korea under socialist management and orientation, North Korea must be brought to heel.


The first step in the implementation of the policy was the restoration of Japanese military power. A Japanese ''Defense Agency" was created in 1952 and converted into a ''National Defense Council" in 1956. Japanese industrial monopolies were rekindled to life and became the chief suppliers to the United States forces during the Korean War-about $3 billion · in arms-and to the revived Japanese armed forces.


Today, Japan has a "self-defense" army of more than a quarter of a million men, in effect placed at the disposal of the United States forces by means of the United States-Japan Security Treaty, pushed through the Diet in 1960 over the vigorous protest of a large segment of the Japanese people. The treaty was renewed in 1970. In 1965, the Sato government was forced to reveal secret plans for a joint United States-Japanese invasion of North Korea. The plans were contingent on United States success in Southeast Asia.


Japan and Vietnam played a key role in Washington's devoted support of the Park government.


That devotion rested on two principles: (1) reopening South Korea to Japanese investment; (2) dispatching South Korean troops to fight on the United States side in Vietnam.


The first condition was accomplished with the signing of the South Korean-Japanese Treaty of June 22, 1965. The second was met by the shipment since 1965 of 360,000 troops of the South Korean army, serving in rotation, bought and paid for by the United States at a cost of more than $1 billion, and leaving behind a record of cruel and inhuman behavior toward the civilian "population of South Vietnam. It was a bargain driven by Park, who set as his condition for sending troops to Vietnam the financing by the United States of replacement troops that would have to substitute in demilitarized zone of Korea for those sent to Vietnam.


Japanese Prime Minister Sato sealed the Korean arrangement in a visit to Washington in November J969. It came under the headline appellation of the 'Nixon Doctrine," providing for Asians to fight Asians, with military equipment and economic assistance from the United States. A joint statement declared that (1) "the security of the countries of the Far East is a matter of serious concern for Japan"; (2) South Korea is "essential to Japan's own security"; (3) Taiwan "is also a most important factor for the security of Japan"; (4) South Vietnam is linked to the "security" of Japan. In subsequent Diet sessions, members of the Sato government declared that in the event of a new war in Korea Japan "will not remain an observer," and spoke of the possibility of a "preemptive" war against North Korea.


As Japan moved back into Korea with Park's blessing and the connivance of the Nixon administration, the Japanese government stepped up its discrimination and repressive measures against the 600,000 Koreans who live in Japan. Utilizing alienated and anarchistic elements and hired hoodlums, as well as its own "Self-Defense" personnel, the Japanese government instigated physical attacks on Korean students, teachers, and schools. The kidnapping of Kim Dae Jung, who lived in a virtual fortress in Tokyo, caused acute embarrassment to the Japanese government, but it also raised questions as to how the Korean CIA was able to carry out the criminal act without the knowledge of or interference by the Japanese police.


In June 1970, when the United States raised the question of withdrawal of its troops from South Korea, President Park declared that it would be "absolutely necessary" for the American forces to remain "until we have developed our own capability to cope successfully with North Korea." His schedule called for five years and $2 billion. In the intervening four years, Washington has complied both by supporting Park in power and supplying the wherewithal to maintain him there.


While there are continuing reports that American withdrawal will in fact be gradually instituted, these reports are belied by American actions. In May 1974, John McLucas, Secretary of the Air Force, declared during a visit to Tokyo that the United States was planning to shift a squadron of F-4 Phantom jet fighters from Thailand to South Korea to replace less effective models. Such a move would be contrary both to the latest proposals of the North Koreans, as outlined in the letter to the Congress, and to the armistice agreement of 195 3. But such violations were hardly new or unusual. They simply provided Park with new assurances of continuing support from Washington.


More ominously, McLucas said he could foresee a military situation in Asia in which the Japanese Self-Defense Force would be employed outside the territorial limits of Japan. He declined to be specific, but said that if United States and Japanese interests were threatened he could envision a change in Japanese participation in the defensive partnership with the United States. That role is currently restricted to Japanese territory, although there is, contrary to popular belief, no Japanese constitutional prohibition against deployment of Japanese troops outside Japanese territory.




Many events and many factors have intervened since the promulgation of the Nixon Doctrine in the pre-Watergate year of 1969. The resistance of the liberation movements in Southeast Asia forced an admission by the United States that there could be no "victory" in that part of the world. The emergence of the People's Republic of China as a force to reckon with in the United Nations and on the world scene as a whole is an undeniable fact. The insistence by the Soviet Union that it must be consulted about all the real and potential danger zones of the world is a potent ingredient in global politics today.


Above all, the political and economic viability of the government of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, plus the persisting resistance of patriotic Korean; in the South, have caused heretofore proponents of Washington's Korean policy, such as the New York Times and prominent diplomatic figures, to begin a reexamination on their own of that policy, and to conclude that the time has come for the government of the United States to do likewise.


Basic questions to this end were raised in staff report prepared for the use of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and published in February 1973. It was titled Korea and the Philippines: November 1972, and was based on a visit to those countries by two committee staff members. Concerning Korea, the report concluded:


"If the United States is now in a position to reexamine its programs and postures in Korea, basic questions such as these questions should be addressed: why does South Korea, with a more prosperous economy, require great military aid while the North pays for most of what it receives; why is it necessary for the United States to pay operating and maintenance costs of the Korea armed forces; why does the United States have troops and advisers in the South while the Russians and Chinese have none in the North; what is the justification for having U.S. weapons systems with nuclear capabilities in Korea; why must American ground forces be retained if they are no longer necessary to maintain the military balance; are the existing interlocking U.S.-U.N.-Korean command arrangements still desirable; and should we wish to be automatically involved if another Korean war were to break out?"


These are serious questions indeed, and while the authors of the report were not sanguine about having them answered constructively-"because we appear to be immobilized by our own presence and commitments" -they have been raised and they are being discussed.


While there is a clear and present danger in the contingency plans for a confrontation-plans coordinated in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo-it is equally clear that there is a determination in the North and throughout Korea to resist any new American-sponsored encroachment. There have in addition been warnings from Peking and Moscow that the two socialist countries 'would honor their commitments of mutual assistance to the government of North Korea in the event of a new danger. The validity of these commitments was proved by the Chinese action in the Korean War of 1950-53.


Vital to the whole situation is the frame of mind of the people of the United States. In this connection a pertinent observation was made by Professor Reischauer in a letter to the New York Times on June 14, 1974. He wrote:


"President Park's regime is still supported by American arms, aid and a defense commitment, but as conditions are developing in Korea, the American people simply will not support this defense commitment to 'still another dictator' in distress."


This is a significant warning by a man who for many years was instrumental in the implementation of American policy in the Far East. It is also, in its way, a call to action by the people of the United States.


From another vantage point-that of unswerving resistance to Washington's Cold War policy from the beginning-the American-Korean Friendship and Information Center and its friends have been aware of both the danger of a new conflict in Korea, and the possibility of turning the tide in favor of a lasting peace in "the land of morning calm."


In this belief, the AKFIC solicits help in the cause of peace in Asia and throughout the world.




by Prof. Fred J. Carrier

Co-Chairman, AKFIC and contributing editor, Korea Focus


A 200-page book published by AKFIC. Chapters include:


1. "The Struggle Against a Colonial Economy"

2. "Education for Socialism"

3. "A Society of Workers: Life in Pyongyang and Hamhung"

4. "National Independence and Unification: Historical Perspective"


Also recommended are:


Kim Il Sung, Selected Works, 5 volumes, Pyongyang Foreign Publishing House

Kim Il Sung, "Revolutionary and Socialist Construction in Korea," International, Publishers,


Wilfred Burchett, "Again Korea," International Publishers, 1968.

I.F. Stone, "The Hidden History of the Korean War," NY 1970, New Monthly Review

James Aronson, "The Press and the Cold War," NY, 1970

Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, "The Limits of Power: The World and United States Foreign Policy, 1945-54," Harper & Row publishers, 1972.

"Proletarian Internationalism – Revolutions in the East" by G.K. Kim and F.I. Shabshina.

Kim Ii Sung, "For the Independent Peaceful Reunification of Korea," New World Paperbacks,





Korea Focus is published by the American-Korean Friendship and Information Center, an organization whose goal is to promote lasting friendship leading to relaxation of tension, advancement of peaceful co-existence and detente, based on mutual understanding between the people of Korea and the USA.




The AFKIC introduces its mission, the history of Korea, and the current situation on the Peninsula.

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Frostburg State University, Archives Pamphlet, 1112. Obtained by Brandon Gauthier.


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