The Korean War was a conflict that made the threat of nuclear war a real possibility. The struggle on the Korean peninsula resulted in the creation of two independent and rival states. After Japan’s surrender, Korea was divided into two occupation zones.

This plan was to remain in force only until an independent Korean government was formed. In June 1950, the northern dictator Kim Ir Sen launched an invasion of the South under the pretext of Korean unification.

The communist troops of the People’s Republic of Korea occupied almost the entire peninsula in a short period of time. The UN Security Council decided to send international troops to Korea. The Korean War changed the balance of power between the superpowers and accelerated the process of Western integration. International public opinion generally supported the actions of the US and the West.

This stage in history had catastrophic consequences. Approximately 200,000 bombs were dropped on the capital Seoul. Across the country, 10 per cent of the population was killed and almost all buildings were razed to the ground. Some 700,000 soldiers from the South and North, nearly 40,000 UN peacekeepers and nearly 150,000 members of China’s armed forces died in this war. Losses are estimated at nearly 400,000 dead, including civilians killed from the South, over 300,000 missing and nearly 90,000 deported to North Korea.

US Green Party International Committee member Austin Bashore honoured the memory of those killed visiting in No Geun Ri. As he said : ”The 600 or so villagers were ordered to march along this road, but were directed to the train tracks on their way to the city of Busan. While the villagers were marching down on the train tracks to the southeastern port city of Busan, to be rescued the United States army had issued a kill – all order for anybody with a Korean face on the Korean Peninsula. Men, women, children, the disabled were all classified as enemy combatants. As a result the U.S. Air Force began to attack and strafe the refugees on the train tracks. ”

As he added : ”400 civilians died in the No Geun Ri massacre. There were even a few recorded cases of parents drowning their infant children in the stream here to prevent the US Forces from hearing their cries. The No Geun Ri massacre was not a one off event. There are hundreds of events like these during the Korean War due to the US Armed Forces classifying any Korean person…as an enemy combatant. Korean war may be described as the forgotten war in the United States however it is long from forgotten in Korea. Let us never forget what happened here in No Geun Ri and make sure it never happens again anywhere in the world.”

As we can read on the Facebook page of the Green Party of USA : “#IAmGreen because the Korean War ended with the murder of 20% of the Korean population. The United States is the only actor in the Korean War that is unwilling to negotiate a peace treaty. It’s quite obvious that with nuclear weapons in the North and the United States Military in the South, any form of war on the peninsula will result in a global conflict. All U.S. soldiers in Korea must return home and we must engage in diplomacy to prevent another American-led genocide on the Korean Peninsula.”

Marta Banaszek

Marta is studying at the University of Edinburgh. She's interested in green politics, human rights and international politics.She was an intern for Amnesty International where she worked on the Belarus–European Union border crisis.

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