Home / Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

60 years of paradox and failure

By Ra Jong-yil | China Daily | Updated: 2013-07-26 09:56

The first hot war of the Cold War ended on July 27, 1953. Guns, big and small, which had shattered the land of morning calm for three years fell silent. Korea lay in waste, ruins not only of towns, villages, buildings and factories, but also of minds. It was a wasteland of morals, age-old traditions of human relations, of civility, of warmth, of emotions with which people had been used to treating the natural as well as the human world; it was humanity in chaos.

But the greatest ruin was in the realm of politics. In the aftermath of the appalling violence, in the lingering memory of struggle for survival, there was hardly room for the art of politics through which people could still live together with different, or even conflicting ideas and interests. In a sense, the greatest casualty of the war was politics.

The foreign soldiers who had crowded into Korea were relieved to have been finally liberated from the hazards and toils of war. They were looking forward to going home to their families and friends. But the Koreans themselves were still glowering at one another, their compatriots on the other side, with arms in hand, hatred in the eyes. Far from learning a lesson from their catastrophic experiences in the war, they were even ready to start it all over again.

When the war ended after three years of destruction, Korea remained divided. The only change was that the line dividing the country, the 38th Parallel drawn by an American officer at the end of the Pacific War, had been replaced by the Demilitarized Zone, reflecting the power of the two camps that divided the world at that time.

The greatest enigma of the Korean War was that there was no Korean to take the responsibility of its catastrophic consequences. There were only "heroes" who claimed credit and got it too.

Kim Il-sung had two main objectives before the war: Unification of Korea and building a socialist society throughout the country. The outcome was exactly the opposite of what he intended. The division of the country was more firmly in place, more so in the minds of the people, when the war was over. The American troops, that had been withdrawn, returned in great force and have remained ever since as a semi-permanent factor on the Korean Peninsula not only in the military but also in many other areas of influence.

Previous 1 2 Next

Most Viewed in 24 Hours
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349