Wednesday, July 12, 2006

History of North Korea

History of North Korea. This is a brief essay which looks at the history of the Asian nation of North Korea. Recent events indicate that the North Korea will probably continue to have an eventful history.

The Encyclopædia Britannica notes, "Officially Democratic People's Republic of Korea, (Korean - Choson Minjujuui In'min Konghwaguk) country in East Asia. It occupies the northern portion of the Korean peninsula, which juts out from the Asian mainland between the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and the Yellow Sea. The country is bordered by China and Russia to the north and by the Republic of Korea (South Korea) to the south. North Korea has an area of 47,399 square miles (122,762 square kilometres)."

From the site:

In December 1945, a conference convened in Moscow to discuss the future of Korea. A 5-year trusteeship was discussed, and a joint Soviet-American commission was established. The commission met intermittently in Seoul but deadlocked over the issue of establishing a national government. In September 1947, with no solution in sight, the United States submitted the Korean question to the UN General Assembly. Initial hopes for a unified, independent Korea quickly evaporated as the politics of the Cold War and domestic opposition to the trusteeship plan resulted in the 1948 establishment of two separate nations with diametrically opposed political, economic, and social systems. In 1950, the North launched a massive surprise attack on the South.

As noted, differences developed after World War II over the issue of establishing a Korean national government. Elections were held in the South under UN observation, and on August 15, 1948, the Republic of Korea was established in the South. Syngman Rhee, a nationalist leader, became the Republic's first president. On September 9, 1948, the North established the Democratic People's Republic of Korea headed by then-Premier Kim Il Sung, who had been fostered and supported by the U.S.S.R. North Korean forces invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950. The United Nations, in accordance with the terms of its Charter, engaged in its first collective action and established the UN Command (UNC), to which 16 member nations sent troops and assistance. Next to South Korea, the United States contributed the largest contingent of forces to this international effort. The battle line fluctuated north and south, and after large numbers of Chinese "People's Volunteers" intervened to assist the North, the battle line stabilized north of Seoul near the 38th parallel.

Armistice negotiations began in July 1951, but hostilities continued until July 27, 1953. On that date, at Panmunjom, the military commanders of the North Korean People's Army, the Chinese People's Volunteers, and the UNC signed an armistice agreement. Neither the United States nor South Korea is a signatory to the armistice per se, although both adhere to it through the UNC. No comprehensive peace agreement has replaced the 1953 armistice pact; thus, a condition of belligerency still exists on the peninsula.

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