Development of the Conflict on the Korean Peninsula

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1 In the following text South Korea refers to the Republic of Korea (ROK), North Korea to the Democratic People s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Development of the Conflict on the Korean Peninsula From 1910 onwards, until the end of the Second World War, the Korean Peninsula was under the control of Japan. In 1945 the Soviet Union (with the consent of the US) occupied the north of the region down to the 38th parallel. The US controlled the South and in 1948 both parts had governments that saw themselves as legitimate representatives of the peninsula. On 25 June 1950, the North Korean Army invaded the South and thus initiated the Korean War. This was regarded as an act of aggression by the UN and the Security Council agreed on sending UN Forces to support South Korea (Resolution 85). 22 Countries assisted the UN Forces, especially the US, which provided 88 percent of the soldiers. The Soviet Union supported the North. By September, the North Korean forces had been able to take control of the majority of the peninsula, leaving only the small area of Busan in South Korean power. Then, however, the allied troops landed in Inchon and recaptured Seoul and the South. China did not want a united Korea under American influence and warned the troops from crossing the 38th parallel. Nevertheless the American troops crossed the boundary on 1 October 1950 and took the majority of the North, including the capital Pyongyang, under their control. Consequently, China send an army of volunteers to fight with the North Koreans. In the following months until the end of the year 1950, the American soldiers had to retreat to the 38th parallel. In September to October 1951 was the last big battle of the war. The high number of casualties on both sides lead to wishes for a ceasefire. However, first the North of the peninsula was bombed heavily to put pressure on the USSR and China. On 27 June 1953 the armistice was agreed upon. It re-established the 38th parallel as the border between the two countries and defined a four kilometre wide demilitarized zone next to the border. In the following decades the conflict flared up repeatedly, while there were also attempts to come to an understanding. In 2000 the so-called Sunshine politics started; South Korean foreign policies that wanted to solve the conflict peacefully. The South stated that it did not want to take control of North Korea and tried to work together, for instance through economic co-operation and family reunions. Beginning in 2003, the Six-Party Talks between the Koreas, China, USA, Russia and Japan seeked to find a peaceful solution concerning North Korea s nuclear weapon program. North Korea was accused of having a secret nuclear weapon program, which it confirmed in 2005 when it left the talks at the same time.

2 In 2007 North Korea agreed to close down its nuclear facilities in exchange for economic aid, but it withdrew from the compromise in In 2007 there was a meeting between South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korea s Kim Jong-il. They called for a permanent peace treaty between the two countries to replace the armistice from 1953 and stressed their desire to improve inter-korean prosperity and cooperation. The situation worsened once more in North Korea stated that it would only join the Six- Party talks again if the sanctions against it would be ended. Additionally, South Korea made clear that it would be ready to conduct a first strike against the North if there was the danger of a nuclear attack. Other crucial events in the year were the North Korean attack of the South Korean warship Cheonan (PCC-772) and its attack on the South Korean island of Baengnyeong. The result was the termination of peace talks. Kim Jong-un, who has been North Korea s leader since 2012, put a stronger focus on the economy than the military in his rhetoric, but nevertheless a solution was becoming more unrealistic. In 2012 North Korea launched a satellite, which was seen as a long-term missile test by the international community. The UN condemned this action in Resolution 2087 and imposed stricter sanctions. In 2013 North Korea conducted a nuclear test. It provoked the South and the international community and threatened to strike nuclear attacks against South Korea, Japan and the US. In March North Korea ended the Armistice of Current Crisis Two days ago, at 11 December 2014 the North Korean Military fired five missiles on the South Korean cities of Seoul and Ch unch on each. Fortunately,135 civilians died were killed since two of the missiles had malfunctions. At the same time North Korean naval forces were entered South Korean sea territory. South Korea immediately sent a fleet themselves to contain the invading ships, which were before the South Korean coast with a distance of only 80 km in the Bay of Kyonggi-man. North Korea also sent troops towards the South of the country, but without entering the demilitarized zone. The South Korean government reacted by mobilizing its troops, but insisted on trying to find a diplomatic solution. However, South Korea insists that once again North Korea broke international agreements and the international community should take decisive actions against North Korea, so that such an aggression cannot happen again. In case that North Korea makes any plans to launch a nuclear attack, South Korea stated that it will take all means necessary to stop North Korea. Reactions of the UN and the international community (Alex) Immediately after the events became known, the majority of states condemned North Korea's actions. United States of America: The USA immediately uttered it support for South Korea and stressed

3 the necessity of containing North Korea. President Obama ordered several Navy ships to move towards the Korean peninsula and made clear that the USA would be ready to assist South Korea militarily in case a diplomatic solution would not be found. European Union: The High Representative for Foreign Affairs Frederica Mogherini expressed the EU s concern. Nevertheless, the EU is calling for a de-escalation of the situation and thinks that a military reaction of any kind would worsen the conflict. It would set back any previous efforts made to stabilize the region. People s Republic of China: "We maintain friendly relations with one of our neighbors, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. A further deepening of political ties and trade and economic cooperation is definitely in the interests of the peoples of both countries and ensuring regional stability and security, However North Korea failed in establishing safety in the region. Russian Federation: rather neutral NATO: North Atlantic Council condemn in the strongest terms aggressive actions by North Korea against South Korea, conducted in flagrant violation of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. Also, NATO stated that: We call on the North Korean authorities to cease immediately such provocative actions, to meet their obligations under international law and to comply fully with the decisions of the international community, as expressed by the United Nations Security Council Former UN resolution: General information on the Democratic People s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea Republic of Korea Democratic People s Republic of Korea 49,039,986 (July 2014 est.) 24,851,627 (July 2014 est.) Population

4 total population: 79.8 years male: years female: years (2014 est.) total population: years male: years female: years (2014 est.) Life expectancy at birth North Korea, one of the world's most centrally directed and least open economies, faces chronic economic problems. Industrial capital stock is nearly beyond repair as a result of years of underinvestment, shortages of spare parts, and poor maintenance. Large-scale military spending draws off resources needed for investment and civilian consumption. Industrial and power output have stagnated for years at a fraction of pre-1990 levels. Frequent weather-related crop failures aggravated chronic food shortages caused by on-going systemic problems, including a lack of arable land, collective farming practices, poor soil quality, insufficient fertilization, and persistent shortages of tractors and fuel. Large-scale international food aid deliveries have allowed the people of North Korea to escape widespread starvation since famine threatened in 1995, but the population continues to suffer from prolonged malnutrition and poor living conditions. Since 2002, the government has allowed private "farmers' markets" to begin selling a wider range of goods. It also permitted some private farming - on an experimental basis - in an effort to boost agricultural output. In December 2009, North Korea carried out a redenomination of its currency, capping the amount of North Korean won that could be exchanged for the new notes, and limiting the exchange to a one-week window. A concurrent crackdown on markets and foreign currency use yielded severe shortages and inflation, forcing Pyongyang to ease the restrictions by February In response to the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea's government cut off most aid, trade, and bilateral cooperation activities, with the exception of operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex. In preparation for the 100th anniversary of KIM Il-sung's birthday in 2012, North Korea continued efforts to develop special economic zones with China and expressed willingness to permit construction of a trilateral gas pipeline that would carry Russian natural gas to South Korea. The North Korean government often highlights its goal of becoming a "strong and prosperous" nation and attracting foreign investment, a key factor for improving the overall standard of living. In this regard, in 2013 the regime rolled out 14 new Special Economic Zones set up for foreign investors, though the initiative remains in its infancy Nevertheless South Korea over the past four decades has demonstrated incredible growth and global integration to become a high-tech industrialized economy. In the 1960s, GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia. In 2004, South Korea joined the trillion-dollar club of world economies, and is currently the world's 12th largest economy. Initially, a system of close government and business ties, including directed credit and import restrictions, made this success possible. The government promoted the import of raw materials and technology at the expense of consumer goods, and encouraged savings and investment over consumption. The Asian financial crisis of exposed longstanding weaknesses in South Korea's development model including high debt/equity ratios and massive shortterm foreign borrowing. GDP plunged by 6.9% in 1998, and then recovered by 9% in South Korea adopted numerous economic reforms following the crisis, including greater openness to foreign investment and imports. Growth moderated to about 4% annually between 2003 and South Korea's export focused economy was hit hard by the 2008 global economic downturn, but quickly rebounded in subsequent years, reaching 6.3% growth in The US-Korea Free Trade Agreement was ratified by both governments in 2011 and went into effect in March Throughout 2012 and 2013 the economy experienced sluggish growth because of market slowdowns in the United States, China, and the Eurozone. The administration in 2014 is likely to face the challenge of balancing heavy reliance on exports with developing domesticoriented sectors, such as services. The South Korean economy's long term challenges include a rapidly aging population, inflexible labor market, dominance of large conglomerates (chaebols), and heavy reliance on exports, which comprise about half of GDP. Economy - overview

5 firm political control remains the government's overriding concern, which likely will inhibit changes to North Korea's current economic system. males age 16-49: 6,515,279 females age 16-49: 6,418,693 (2010 est.) males age 16-49: 13,185,794 females age 16-49: 12,423,496 (2010 est.) Manpower availabl for military service males age 16-49: 4,836,567 females age 16-49: 5,230,137 (2010 est.) males age 16-49: 10,864,566 females age 16-49: 10,168,709 (2010 est.) Manpower fit for military service male: 207,737 female: 204,553 (2010 est.) male: 365,760 female: 321,225 (2010 est.) Manpower reaching militarily significan age annually Further readings How potent are North Korea's threats? - 2 April North Korea s Nuclear Program: ram/index.html Others:

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