Korea DMZ
December 19, 2002 3:34 AM   Subscribe

korea-dmz.com is a site devoted to not only the history of the DMZ, but also some unexpected treats.
posted by hama7 (20 comments total)
[windows media player necessary for aerial scenic view]
posted by hama7 at 3:36 AM on December 19, 2002

Ah, thegood old days! I was there, setting up the place , back when the cease fire first went into effect...not recommended for vacation or honeymoon, though.
posted by Postroad at 6:34 AM on December 19, 2002

"Please download VRML viewer if you can't see this page"

posted by wibbler at 11:30 AM on December 19, 2002

I was there, setting up the place , back when the cease fire first went into effect

Thank you sir, for a job well done.
posted by hama7 at 3:11 PM on December 19, 2002

Is it true that the Korean War isn't technically over? Someone told me that the treaty was never signed.
posted by o2b at 3:12 PM on December 19, 2002

I was there, setting up the place

And thank you for your service to the country.
posted by hama7 at 3:41 PM on December 19, 2002

I was there, setting up the place
Well, with the outcome of the presidential election, that wall might be a little more likely to come down. (Despite the best efforts of the North Koreans to drive the South Korean electorate into the arms of the conservative candidate by behaving like jerks for the past few months) [/OT]
posted by Octaviuz at 5:10 PM on December 19, 2002

o2b: On July 27, 1953, both sides signed an armistice ceasing hostilities and creating the de-militarized zone. (The parties were the Korean People's Army and the Chinese People's Volunteers, and the United Nations command, represented by US General Clark. Oddly, and it has proven to be a sticking point in years since, there was no representative of South Korea, then governed by Syngman Rhee, an elected but authoritarian ruler.) Although the ROK and DPRK signed several agreements in principle beginning around 1991, no formal peace treaty has ever been negotiated. The United States has posited a complete abandonmnet of the nuclear program and a stand-down of most of the 500,000 DPRK troops on the border as a pre-requisite to a treaty, although many South Koreans would be much more accomodating; the North Koreans pretty much demand that the US leave, although they have under Kim Jong Il become much more desperate for practical improvements short of the symbolism of a treaty.
posted by dhartung at 6:18 PM on December 19, 2002

I love Kim Chee. And Noodles.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:42 PM on December 19, 2002

Octaviuz: I doubt that. I had great hope when Kim Dae Jung was elected and we've seen what has happened during his sunshine policy. All I see is more North Korea scheming to take advantage of the south and continue to do whatever the hell they want to their own populace.

Also, it's more than just this past few months, it is what they have done since the end of the war. They haven't changed.

I have little hope for President Roh. Not that the other idiot would have been any better though. I'm just sad we had such poor choices for President.
posted by Baesen at 7:02 PM on December 19, 2002

Not that the other idiot would have been any better though.

I loved that other idiot! Though I do agree completely with your assessment of the failed policies and the scheming greedy North.

I read a rather sad assessment (among several others) about the current state of affairs (and demonstrations over the deaths of two young girls in a horrific U.S.military accident) in a letter by a person living in Dongjak-ku:

"-I do not think that the "candle light demonstrations," or asking for public apologies from President Bush is wrong. But everyone's lives are important. I want to ask the people who went to protest in front of the White House, what did they do when the naval officers died in the June inter-Korean crash? How can they be so quiet toward Kim Jong Il? Is this fair? Or are they using the deaths for their own anti-Americanism?"

From the Chosun Ilbo.
posted by hama7 at 7:51 PM on December 19, 2002

That idiot you loved showed himself to be a fool during the debates. He was the idiot that everyone thought your Mr. Bush would be during the debates. He yelled at the people asking questions telling them what ignorant fools they are. Then, when asked a question about a subject he didn't know about, he tried to bullshit his way through it and sounded even worse.

While you might like his NK policy, I'm embarrassed that he has been a political leader for so long after the way he acted.

The current state of affairs -- Yes, it is not very nice. The way my people are reacting is extreme. But, we expect the US to act in a certain way, and when they don't, it is infuriating. We expect NK to kill us and act like thugs, we don't expect the US to be that way. This might have been chalked up to the anti-americanism of the college students in the beginning, but I think it has spread throughout the general populace too much to say that anymore.

The girls were killed in an accident. Nobody is really disputing that. But, what is upsetting is that there was no punishment. Even in America, when people are killed in accidents, if there was fault, then the person is punished. I think if these soldiers had been punished it wouldn't have been this bad. People still would have been upset that we hadn't been able to try them ourselves, but there would have been more acceptance.

Then you have the delays in apologies. It took weeks and weeks of demonstrations and the like before an apology was forthcoming from Mr. Bush. Because it took so long, anything short of a personal, public apology, in Korea was too little for the general populace to accept. Mr. Clinton personally apologized for the horrible acts of soldiers in Japan almost immediately. This lack of apology was considered an affront and an insult with us once again being shown that America cares more for Japan than it does for Korea.

Finally, you have SOFA. I think that unless the US gives Korea the power to prosecute ANY death, whether the soldier is on duty or not, it will not be accepted by my people.

Now, the situation has grown so large, I'm not sure it can be settled short of what I said above. The demonstrations are growing large and people are beginning to remember 86-87 again.

I will be interested to see what the final result is. I think I am more pragmatic than many of my fellows. But, I do understand the anger and resentment currently rumbling through my people.
posted by Baesen at 10:15 PM on December 19, 2002

One more thing.

Did you see the election map?

Cut the country in half, north to south. This election was more about regionalism than anything else. Kwangju voted 97% for Roh with Taegu voting 97% for Lee.
posted by Baesen at 10:19 PM on December 19, 2002

Finally, you have SOFA. I think that unless the US gives Korea the power to prosecute ANY death, whether the soldier is on duty or not, it will not be accepted by my people.

From my understanding of the SOFA, accidental death or injury while performing a military maneuver while on duty is protected by mutual agreement. Any egregious crime, (such as murder, rape or arson) comitted while off-duty is punishable by local courts, be they Korean, Japanese or German. I have a limited understanding of SOFA, and I'm not sure if it's always applied this way.

I admit to being shocked at hearing that the soldiers were found 'not guilty', but they were found not guilty of negligent homicide, of which they were accused. (Negligent homicide is like when you run a red light and strike a pedestrian). I'm frankly confused as to how this case should have been handled. Would Korean activists have been less upset if the soldiers had been handed to the Korean courts? Nobody I have asked thinks so, and neither do I, but I'm at a loss as to what an appropriate course of action might have been. Or would be now.

Kalani O'sullivan has an enormous site that goes into exacting detail, and sheds much light on this issue.

I wasn't surprised by the regional vote, but that Roh is from Pusan is quite peculiar, given his popularity in Cholla.
posted by hama7 at 12:22 AM on December 20, 2002

And that 'my people' schtik is a bit odd.
posted by hama7 at 3:50 AM on December 20, 2002

"My people" Korean people whatever. Not quite sure what word to use sometimes.

You don't think it would have mattered? That is why the protests started. I understand how SOFA works, but it just looks bad. If they had been prosecuted in a Korean court then there would have been little to protest against if the verdict had come out not guilt. At least not against the US. There probably would have been anti-govt. protests against our govt. and their sucking up to the US though.

Anyway, at this point, I'm not sure there is a good solution. Will definitely be a test of Mr. Roh and how good of a President he will be.
posted by Baesen at 5:56 AM on December 20, 2002

You don't think it would have mattered?

I'm not too sure what you mean by this. No Korean person that I have spoken to thinks handing the soldiers to a Korean court is either a good idea now, or would set a precedent for similar cases in the future. So I'm wondering what would be appropriate: complete withdrawal of US forces? Some activists might say so, but the US and South Korea, in case we need reminding, are allies, and have been for more than half a century.

There is one group who is very pleased with the anti-American uproar, but most(?) of them are north of the 38th parallel.
posted by hama7 at 4:28 PM on December 20, 2002

"Washington's failure to engage North Korea has in a few months turned a minor problem (a uranium program that would take years to produce weapons) into a major crisis (the restarting of a reactor with enough plutonium to produce five additional warheads). Now the administration is allowing the situation to drift on a trajectory that conceivably could end up as another Korean war."
posted by homunculus at 7:30 PM on December 20, 2002

Here's some information on the Status of Forces Agreement.

Horrifying article, humonculus, but much appreciated
posted by hama7 at 3:26 PM on December 22, 2002

Or homunculus, as the case may be.
posted by hama7 at 9:31 PM on December 22, 2002

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