The Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations - Vol. 2

By Cathal J. Nolan | Go to book overview
missile defense (BMD) research in Japan and the United States. By 2000 some softening in relations with the South had been achieved, mostly at the instigation of South Korean leaders and driven by the end of Soviet and Chinese subsidies and growing malnutrition, and possibly famine, in the countryside.
Suggested Readings:
A. C. Nahm, Korea: Tradition and Transformation (1988); Don Oberdorfer, The Two Koreas (1997).
Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA). The main intelligenceagency of South Korea, originally modeled on, and maintaining close links with, its American namesake. Its main role has been counterintelligence against its North Korean counterpart. In a bizarre incident in 1979, the head of the KCIA assassinated President Park Chung Hee.
Korean Conflict (1950–1953). At the end of World War II, Soviet troops accepted Japan’s surrender in Korea north of the 38th parallel, while American troops accepted the surrender in the south. Despite a pledge to erect a common government, rival regimes were quickly set up. By 1949 Soviet and American troops had been withdrawn, leaving the Koreas each yearning to govern the entire peninsula. In January 1950, Dean Acheson made an impolitic statement in which he appeared to leave South Korea out of the defense perimeter to which the United States had declared it would commit troops. Soviet documents released in 1993 finally resolved an old debate about responsibility for starting the war. They showed that Kim Il-Sung repeatedly sought, and finally received, Stalin’s approval to assault the South. On June 25th North Koreas army attacked, overrunning Seoul within 72 hours and routing South Korean forces. The United States sent aid and supplies but had immediately available only ill-prepared garrison troops in Japan. Meanwhile, it sought UN authorization and cover for a larger engagement. With the Soviets boycotting the Security Council over the issue of China’s representation, the United States obtained the desired resolution. Some 15 nations joined the United States in committing to repel the North’s aggression against South Korea, although most sent only token forces. The Soviet Union aided the North with war matériel and technicians. Stalin also pressured Mao Zedong to massively support Kim and the North Koreans as a means of keeping the Soviet Union a safe distance from direct military conflict with the United States. Mao finally agreed: having completed the invasion of Tibet, he postponed plans to invade Taiwan and shifted these forces to the Korean frontier and began to infiltrate them across the border. As a result, the bulk of fighting later in the war was done by American and South Korean troops against not just North Korean troops but massive numbers of Chinese “volunteers.”

General Douglas MacArthur was placed in overall command of the UN forces, which were nearly routed and pushed into a pocket around Pusan. On September 15th MacArthur launched a highly risky amphibious attack, be-

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