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Jakarta Post

America’s ‘total destruction’ of Korea, revisited after 70 years

  • Brett Wilkins

    San Francisco, California

PREMIUM
San Francisco, California   /   Fri, June 26 2020   /  01:00 am
South Korean soldiers salute during a ceremony marking the 69th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War in Seoul on Tuesday. The 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice with no peace treaty. (AFP/Jung Yeon-je)

For a brief moment in the summer of 1945, there was joy in Korea. Koreans, who had suffered tremendously during half a century of brutal Japanese occupation and World War II, celebrated what they believed was their liberation by victorious United States and Soviet forces. Full of hope for a future free of foreign rule, they proudly declared their independence; however, Supreme Allied Commander Douglas MacArthur announced that the US and the USSR would be occupying — and dividing — the entire Korean peninsula. Adding insult to injury, vanquished but no less vicious Japanese forces would be employed to violently repress dissent. Like so many other imperial endeavors, the division of Korea along the 38th parallel was an exercise in arbitrariness and utter disregard for the wishes of the people it affected. The US, which claimed to champion freedom, denied it to t...