Diplomatic and political interactions between North and South Korea

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1 Diplomatic and political interactions between North and South Korea Author : Elyce Mosher On March 30, 2013, North Korean TV channel KCNA broadcasts a government statement declaring it is entering a 'state of war' with South Korea. South Korea's defence ministry said these threats are 'unacceptable' and threaten peace. The statement came a day after the North staged a large military rally through the streets of Pyongyang. The White House warned North Korea that following Friday that military confrontation would lead to further isolation. The two Koreas have technically been at war for more than half a century, yet they have never signed a formal peace deal after the Korean war in the 1950s. National Security Council spokeswoman, Caitlin Hayden, said, "We continue to take additional measures against the North Korean threat, including our plan to increase the US ground-based interceptors and early warning and tracking radar." Today North Korea is an absolute monarchy. In comparison, South Korea can compare to the United States, still carrying their democratic stance on politics. In 1945, the division of Korea on the 38 th parallel north separated Korea into North and South Korea. Following World War II, the Soviets took over north of the line and the U.S. took over the south. The Soviet Union practiced their communist beliefs while the United States practiced democratic beliefs. It is apparent that the differences of political views are due to the involvement of American and Soviet foreign policy. American officials and South Koreans believed North Korea fell under the influence of the Chinese Communists due to the Korean War and the communist party's objective to take over the United Nations. By following the historical timeline of the Korean War and displaying foreign involvement, it is easier to see the reasons behind political views. On June 25, 1950, the Korean War began as a civil war during the Cold War, between North and South Korea. The book, Rethinking the Korean War, states that the conflict would nearly start a world war and affect the relations of Communist and democratic nations.[1] The conflict soon became international when, under U.S. leadership, the United Nations joined to support South Korea and the People s Republic of China (PRC) entered to aid North Korea.[2] The war left Korea divided and brought the Cold War to Asia. 75,000 soldiers from the North Korean People s Army poured across the 38th parallel, the boundary between the Soviet-backed Democratic People s Republic of Korea to the north and the pro-western Republic of Korea to the south. This invasion was the first military action of the Cold War. By July, American troops had entered the war on South Korea s behalf. As far as American officials were concerned, it was a war against the forces of international communism itself.[3] After some back-and-forth fighting along the 38th parallel, it stopped and there was no evidence to show for the casualties. Meanwhile, American officials worked to come up with some sort of armistice with the North Koreans. The alternative would have potentially been a wider war with Russia and China or even World War III. By the end of the 1 / 5

2 decade, two new states had formed on the peninsula. In the south, the anti-communist dictator Syngman Rhee ( ), pictured below, had the reluctant support of the American government. On the other hand, in the north, the communist dictator Kim Il Sung ( ) had the support of the Soviets. Neither dictator was content to remain on his side of the 38th parallel, so they each participated in hopping over the border. Nearly 10,000 North and South Korean soldiers were killed in battle before the war even began. The North Korean invasion was a surprise to American officials. As far as they were concerned, this was not a border dispute between two unstable dictatorships, but the first step in the communist campaign to take over the world. The U.S. saw the battle as a chance to punish the Soviet Union. The UN wanted to conquer North Korea.[4] President Harry Truman ( ) said, If we let Korea down, the Soviets will keep right on going and swallow up one after another. [5] The fight on the Korean peninsula was a symbol of the global struggle between east and west, good and evil. As the North Korean army pushed into Seoul, the South Korean capital, the United States readied its troops for a war against communism itself. The war was a defensive one. It was a war to get the communists out of South Korea and it went badly for South Korea and America. The North Korean army was well-disciplined, well-trained and well-equipped. The South Korean Leader, Syngman Rhee, had weak forces. His soldiers were frightened, confused, and seemed inclined to flee the battlefield at any sign of trouble. President Truman and General MacArthur needed to strategize and develop a new plan to go after the North Korean army.[6] They constructed new ideas and now the Korean War was an offensive one. It was a war to liberate the North from the communists. An assault at Inchon pushed the North Koreans out of Seoul and back to their side of the 38th parallel. But as American troops crossed the boundary and headed north toward the Yalu River, the border between North Korea and Communist China, the Chinese started to worry about protecting themselves from what they called armed aggression against Chinese territory. [7] Chinese leader Mao Zedong ( ) sent troops to North Korea and warned the United States to keep away from the Yalu boundary unless it wanted full-scale war. President Truman wanted U.S. troops to fight the war so that it would prove that they would be ready to handle anything the Soviets through at them, such as communist expansions beyond the borders. The Korean Peninsula held four strong powers China, Japan, the Soviet Union, and the U.S. These powers saw Korea as a buffer, thus wanted Korea to keep conflicts to a minimum within the country. However, that dream was crushed after the U.S.-Soviet conflict. After World War II, Korea was sure to encounter trouble by being in the middle of the confrontation. To protect the well being of Korea, the UN General Assembly passed legislation to establish a UN Temporary Commission in Korea. This led the U.S. to side with South Korea because they were denied access to the North by Chinese Communists.[8] In July 1951, President Truman and his new military commanders started peace talks at Panmunjom. Still, the fighting continued along the 38th parallel as negotiations stalled. Both sides 2 / 5

3 were willing to accept a ceasefire that maintained the 38th parallel boundary, but they could not agree on whether prisoners of war should be forcibly repatriated. Finally, after more than two years of negotiations, the adversaries signed an armistice on July 27, The agreement allowed the POWs to stay where they liked, drew a new boundary near the 38th parallel that gave South Korea an extra 1,500 square miles of territory, and created a 2-mile-wide demilitarized zone that still exists today.[9] The Korean War only lasted a short 3 years, but it was exceptionally bloody. Approximately 5 million people lost their lives. More than half of the population were civilians. Nearly 40,000 Americans died in action in Korea, and close to 100,000 were wounded.[10] Many say North Korea was to blame because they struck first. The illustration to the left in a newspaper that was published during the beginning of the crisis. There was an armistice to stop the fighting in This was not a formal peace treaty but one was in the works. Ultimately, the United States and the ROK signed a mutual defense treaty, and U.S. troops became a part of the DMZ patrols on a semipermanent basis. The Korean War had long-lasting consequences for the entire region. Although it did not unify the country, the United States achieved larger goals of preserving and promoting NATO and defending Japan.[11] The war also resulted in a divided Korea and complicated any possibility for accommodation between the United States and China. The Korean War served to encourage the U.S. Cold War policies of containment and militarization, setting the stage for the further enlargement of the U.S. defense perimeter in Asia. [12] These Cold War policies would eventually lead the United States to regional actions that included its attempts at preventing the fall of Vietnam to communism. North Korea stuck to communist ideals all these years because of the Soviets giving Kim Il-sung power over the north in Following his rule, objectives were pretty clear in wanting to control the entire Korean population. Kim Il-sung wanted to achieve Korean autonomy. Communist China and the Soviet Union played a huge role in capturing North Korea and having that country be subject to communism. North Korea wanted power and influence over South Korea and other nations. The Chinese and Soviets were able to give them that authority and backed them in their attacks and want to control. Footnotes [1] Stueck, William Whitney. Rethinking the Korean War: A New Diplomatic and Strategic History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, page 4 [2] The Korean War , U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian [3] "Korean War," A&E Television Networks. Web. 19 Oct. 3 / 5

4 [4] Milliken, Jennifer. The Social Construction of the Korean War: Conflict and Its Possibilities. Manchester: Manchester University Press, page 1-2 [5] "Korean War," A&E Television Networks. Web. 11 Nov. [6]"United Nations Facing An 'Entirely New War'." Times [London, England] 29 Nov. 1950: 4. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 28 Sept [7] Thornton, Richard C. Odd Man Out: Truman, Stalin, Mao, and the Origins of the Korean War. Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, [8] Byung-Joon, Ahn. "South Korea and the Communist Countries." Asian Survey: [9] Milliken, Jennifer. The Social Construction of the Korean War: Conflict and Its Possibilities. Manchester: Manchester University Press, page 142 [10] "Korean War," A&E Television Networks. Web. 12 Nov. [11] "Korean War," A&E Television Networks. Web. 12 Nov. [12] "Korean War," A&E Television Networks. Web. 12 Nov. Bibliography: Primary Sources: "Chinese Drive To Parallel." Times [London, England] 2 Dec. 1950: 6. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 28 Sept "United Nations Facing An 'Entirely New War'." Times [London, England] 29 Nov. 1950: 4. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 28 Sept / 5

5 Powered by TCPDF (www.tcpdf.org) Secondary Sources: Byung-Joon, Ahn. "South Korea and the Communist Countries." Asian Survey: Koh, B. C. "The Impact of the Chinese Model on North Korea." Asian Survey: "Korean War." History.com. A&E Television Networks. Web. 19 Oct Milliken, Jennifer. The Social Construction of the Korean War: Conflict and Its Possibilities. Manchester: Manchester University Press, "North Korea increases tensions with South by issuing threat over factories," accessed November 9, 2015, Stueck, William Whitney. Rethinking the Korean War: A New Diplomatic and Strategic History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, The Korean War , U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian, Accessed November 6, 2015, https://history.state.gov/milestones/ /korean-war-2 Thornton, Richard C. Odd Man Out: Truman, Stalin, Mao, and the Origins of the Korean War. Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, Illustrations: Figure 1. Korean political cartoon. Figure 2. Picture of Syngman Rhee ( ), https://history.state.gov/milestones/ /korean-war-2 Figure 3. Conflict of Korean Nation https://www.mtholyoke.edu/~park25h/classweb/worldpolitics/analysisconflict.html#_ftn4 5 / 5

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