North & South Korea: How one country with the same bloodline split and remained at war for over 70 years

Yesterday, two brothers sat down for a 30 minute heart to heart talk.  80 million Korean people and the whole world watched them. It was history in the making, for the first time in almost 70 years, a leader from North Korea stepped into the South Korea

“There will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun.” just a few months ago these two brothers threatened to end life on earth with a nuclear world war three – Russia and China would have sided with  North Korea while the United States and its allies would fight for the south

The entire Korean peninsula used to be one country:  sharing the same language, essential culture and common history. They also had the same physical appearance and ate the same food.

The story of their split started a long time ago in 1910 when they were colonized by Japan.

Japan’s reign over the Korean peninsula was brutal- the Japanese attempted to eradicate the Korean language and culture to the extent of arbitrarily changing Korean names to Japanese. The Japanese took over their resources, used their men in the battle field and women as sex slaves called comfort women.

Then World War 2 happened with Japan fighting on the wrong side of history alongside Germany’s Hitler

(Japan, Italy and Germany) were called axis forces – mission was to dominate and rule. Japan wanted to control Asia Pacific, Italy wanted control of the Mediterranean countries while Hitler wanted central Europe.  They fought against the allied forces of United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union and France.

When Italy and Germany fell, Japan refused to surrender until the United States dropped Atomic bombs at their cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

With Japan defeated, they had to let go control of every government they controlled including the Korean peninsular

America and Soviets(now Russia) were partners during  world war II battle but did not quite trust each other- This affected Korea

The Soviet Union (now Russia) moved fast into Korea through the Northern border and started taking control of the region. America did not quite trust the Soviets and did not want communist government to take over the Korean peninsula, so they quickly entered from the south to take control. America wanted to create an occupation zone.

The US government officials drew an even line that divided Korea into two equal halves keeping the Capital city of Seoul under the US control. This line became known as the 38th parallel.

The United States controlled the Southern part of Korea while the Northern side was controlled by communist soviets. This was supposed to be temporal split for administrative purposes. The Korean Peninsula was supposed to be unified eventually.

The United States believed in capitalism- free elections and government of the people, they wanted to reunify the Korea through free and fair elections. The Soviet Union on the other hand believed in Communist economy (like China) and wanted to reunify the Korean Peninsula as a communist country.

Talks broke down and they ended up having separate elections: North Korea declared as the Democratic republic of North Korea ruled by Kim Jun UN’s grandfather Kim II sung. The North supported by communist Soviets and China slipped into totalitarian dictatorship

While South Korea held its own separate election as the People’s Republic of South Korea copying the western model of Government of the people

Each side believed itself to be the legitimate ruler of the whole Korean peninsula. Each side believed they would reunify the peninsular with time

The Korean War: an attempt to reunify the Korean peninsula by force

In 1950 Kim Jun Un’s grandfather ordered an invasion into South Korea to reclaim the whole of the Korean peninsula. They were backed by other communist countries – Russia (former soviet capital) and China.

South Korea fought back; they were backed by the United States, Britain and other Capitalist countries. The battle lasted for 3years and ended in a stalemate. Neither side was able to deliver a knockout blow.

After 3years of war an armistice is signed in 1953

That means the war is not over, but let’s cease fire for a bit. The armistice agreement finalized the division of the Korean pennisular.

Demilitarized zones: (DMZ) A military fortified boarders were built 2 km away from the 38 parallel. along the DMZ is a  “truce village” –  It was the site of peace discussions during the Korean War and has since been the location of various conferences over issues related to North and South Korea, their allies, and the United Nations.

The Armistice was broken several times:

There were attempted assassinations, some clashes between naval patrols, ships were sunk, landmines were buried, armed forces on both sides lost their lives to occasional violence, but these skirmishes never led to an all-out war.

Constant tension:

There are more than 4000 bomb shelters in both North and South Korea, young men are mandated to serve in the military. South Korea plays host to tens of thousands of US troops. there were several nuclear test and missile launches coming from North Korea and Military drills from the South and its ally America

Last year, a nuclear world war three was highly imminent with many countries in battle formation

“Love will thaw”- frozen

At the height of the tensions President Moon of South Korea proposed a unified team of the two Koreas at the Olympic winter Games. He also suggested that North Korea could co-host some of the skiing events.

North Korea turned down the offer, The Olympic committee joined South Korea to convince the North to join them for the games.

At the opening festivals they paraded with on United Korean flag, the world cheered on.from then on its been only progress till the historic meeting.

The Koreans have reached agreements in the past, They have hosted successful summits in the past, and raised hands and pledged cooperation and solidarity, but the fundamental disputes have remained unsolved, eventually scuttling any momentum towards true peace.

There is some skepticism that true peace will emerge, but for now it’s great to watch them plant flowers with soil and water drawn from the North and South of Korea

 

 

 

 

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