BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July, 2003, 11:09 GMT 12:09 UK
Korean armistice: Your views
We discussed the 50th anniversary of the end of the Korean war in our global phone-in Talking Point. Our guests were Ambassador Wendy Sherman, N Korea policy co-ordinator under President Clinton, Dr Cho Soon Sung, senior advisor to S Korea's ruling party and Ambassador James Lilley, former US Ambassador to S Korea and China.

The armistice that ended the Korean war was signed 50 years ago this week.

Armistice talks had dragged on for two years, ensnared in testy issues such as the exchange of prisoners of war and the military demarcation line.

However, the agreement is all that technically stands between the North and the US, along with its ally South Korea, resuming the war, as no peace treaty was ever signed.

Earlier this year, North Korea threatened to pull out of the armistice as tensions grew over its nuclear programme.

US President George W Bush named North Korea as part of an "axis of evil" in 2002.

Were you in Korea when the armistice was signed? What are your memories? What is the future for Korea? Will a peace treaty ever be signed?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

The status quo lasted for too long now. Does anyone really think that North Korea has the strength to sustain an invasion of the South? North Koreans are starving; the military budget is pumping too much money. I see a regime close to collapsing. But for the security of the region it would be better to do it orderly i.e. open an exit door to the North Korean regime so they could move to a more open society without threatening their neighbours. The refusal to open discussion by the Bush administration is only delaying the final outcome.
Remi, NewYork US

I cannot believe some people here have the gall to claim that Korean unification cannot happen due to the US military presence. Has it ever occurred to you that S. Korea is a democratic capitalist state while N. Korea is a Stalinist state (the last of its kind). Such unification is a certifiable impossibility. Kim Il-Jong keeps making nuclear threats hoping that the US will give him economic aid. Where is the so-called self-reliance N. Korea keeps boasting about?
Frank, Canada

Under some of your logic, the US should have pulled out of West Berlin right after the war. We shouldn't of airlifted food in. Germany would have united quicker. After all the former Red-Army-Faction didn't want my Squadron near their wall either.
Aaron, US

Get our soldiers out of there, let the 2 Koreas reunite and decide what's best for them
Johnathan, USA
Let me see if I got this right. The US has been protecting South Korea for 50 Years. South Korea has become one of the most prosperous and technologically advanced countries in Asia and the World. The way they thank the US is by burning flags, non-stop bashing about the 2 girls accidentally ran over and calling the US the biggest threat to the world's security, according to the BBC & Pew Polls. Great, US made another big mistake. There's no doubt in my mind that today, South Koreans would be better off without US intervention. I say, get our soldiers out of there, let the 2 Koreas reunite and decide what's best for them.
Johnathan, USA

I want to convey my utmost gratitude for those people who sacrificed much to come and fight the war in Korea, and also to their families. There is nothing Korea can do for you to assuage your loss, except for us to continue to say "Thank You." As for those of you who are serving overseas in Korea for the US army, I also want to say thanks to you, I know what it feels like to be in a foreign country away from your family, but I cannot fathom what you may feel in regards of being in danger for a country that sometimes shows animosity towards you. I don't care to try and point out who did what wrong, since all we do is take our focus away from what we need to do right from now on. We all should try to correct our past wrongs and get ourselves out of this sticky situation.
Tae Kim, Seoul, Korea

Nice to see a comment or two about the large contribution that Britain and UK Commonwealth forces made to the Korean conflict. The retreat and the rear-guard action that British Royal Marines played at the Chosin Reservior (Operation Drysdale - named after the RM Colonel in charge) was the saving grace of that retreat. Except for US Marine Corps veterans who were there, it is far too often ignored - especially by our US media because it does not show us Americans dominating the action. My apologies to all those from other countries - particularly the veterans - who have to put up with the US media's ignorance over what really went on there.
Phil Allsopp, Plano, Texas USA

Lets give the Korean people a chance to resolve their differences
J Pombas, Lisbon
I have been living in S.Korea for quite long time (10 years)and one of the things that I learnt about the S.Koreans is that they would be very happy to see the american army away from their country. They do understand that the main reason the Korean peninsula is divided is due to American presence. Lets give the Korean people (north and south) a chance to resolve their differences. Believe they no longer need patrons.
J Pombas, Lisbon, Portugal

It is sad that the Koreas are still separated after 50 years. The Americans would love to bring their troops home and the only purpose they serve there is to protect South Korea. North Korea remains one of the bleakest places on Earth and their population is starving. This is not the fault of the UN or the US. It is the fault of the Dear Leader and his successor. America has made mistakes in Korea but they are still needed there. It is a really unpleasant posting for those guys and very dangerous. People do not appreciate the cost in lives of the conflict and the ongoing suffering in the North. This is not over yet.
Lexhamfox, San Francisco

Once I asked young South Korean girl if South Koreans wanted to be united with the North. She answered that while the older generation wanted it because of national sentiments, the younger generation was more sceptical and afraid that South Korea would have to invest to North Korean economy too much. In my opinion during Korean war Americans and South Koreans shouldn't have gone beyond 38 parallel after recovering their lost ground. Political result would have been the same but MILLIONS of lives would have been spared. One more point; who killed the largest number of civilians during Korean war?
Anna, Russia

As a person who was station in the ROK for a year let me say this. I don't know one of my friends or any American service member who wants to be in Korea .Duty in South Korea is classified as Hardship Duty. Most time we cant' even tell the difference between the north and the south, the way the people treat us. Bring the troops home and let the Koreans deal with each other.
Stuart, New York, USA

The US and South Korea are in need of certain changes themselves
Antony Jukich, CheongJu, South Korea
I think that most would agree that North Korea is a horribly oppressive regime which is in dire need of a leadership change. What is also apparent is that both the US and South Korea are in need of certain changes themselves. Primarily their attitude and behaviour towards each other. The Americans need to start treating South Korea as an equal and the South Koreans should remember that the US is both their friend and Ally. I am a New Zealander teaching in South Korea and many of my students have the belief that America is their Enemy and that North Korea is their friendly long-lost cousin.
Antony Jukich, CheongJu, South Korea

Unfortunately, the US government needs a hostile North Korea. The Korean threat is the main justification for the missile defence program, to which the Republicans are ideologically committed.
Manu, Mechelen, Belgium

Regardless of how news feature anti-western sentiments in Korea, there are those who are thankful, including myself, that UN soldiers with majority Americans came in aid of this tiny, then unknown, country at the time of dire need. Thank you.
R. Lee, Seoul, Korea

Is not Bush encouraging the NK weapon program by refusing to negotiate directly with NK? NK has stated that if they were to negotiate with the US and obtain a non aggression pact, they would stop nuclear weapon development. Bush has provoked this situation by his Axis of Evil and right to Pre-emptive attacks statements and bellicose behaviour.
Herman Suit, Weston, MA, USA

Sooner or later North and South Korea will unite
S. Siddiqui, Chicago, USA
Sooner or later North and South Korea will unite. Vietnam and Germany are united, why not Korea.
S. Siddiqui, Chicago, USA

S. Siddiqui, USA. Unite at whose terms? Have you been to Vietnam, lately?! That type of opressive regime is the last thing one could wish for the South Korean people.
Sara Wiedeman, Sacramento,CA, USA

The US, in the past has been supporting the military establishment in the South so how can they claim that the regime in the North is not democratic? Without the support of the US, the system in the south could not be sustained
Srinivasan Toft, Humlebæk,Denmark

My advice to South Korean youth is that, they should appreciate the sacrifices Americans made in ensuring their freedom and remember that life is irreplaceable - the Korean War created a lot of orphans in North America too.
Frank C.E, Toronto, Canada

My older brother was killed in action three days before the armistice was signed in 1953. He was a 20-year-old US Marine... he will have died for nothing if South Korea succumbs to the North.
Don J, Edmond USA

I spent more than a year wedged between front lines of two warring powers
Donald R. Tremblay, Sana Monica, California, USA
I was part of the official delegation at the actual signing of the armistice. I had stayed up the entire night before, typing the last pages of the document to be signed the following day! On the morning of the signing, I was helicoptered up from our base camp at Munsan-ni to PMJ. I was one of the shorthand reporters who attended all conferences, and was involved in every significant and historical event of the war from September 1952 till the Armistice Commission came into being.

Although I was no hero, I spent more than a year wedged between front lines of two warring powers as a member of the American team of the UN Armistice Delegation. And the only weapon of choice we had was either a pencil or a pen (although I also used a stenotype machine as well), and the hope that we were somehow miraculously protected within the so-called protected zones of Munsan-ni and the thin corridor leading up to Panmunjom.
Donald R. Tremblay, Sana Monica, California, USA

My generation is too young to remember the armistice. What we do remember, though, is all of the television pictures of Korean protesters burning American flags, and the statements of the new South Korean president that the US somehow "caused" the present crisis. Maybe it's time for the South Koreans to defend themselves.
John C, New York, USA

To John C of New York: The reason why the Korean protesters were burning American flags was that some of the US soldiers in South Korea have repeatedly committed crimes of the highest degree, and yet the US Government allowed her soldiers to hide behind the Status of Forces Agreement and escape justice.
SU, London, UK

All that is stopping North Korea is the US presence
Sidney Rodrigues, Kailua-Kona, US
North Korea would love the chance to take over new ground and new resources that it desperately needs. All that is stopping North Korea is the US presence in South Korea. Rather, I would like to see the US assist the North Koreans with the building of new facilities in North Korea that would help the North Korean produce more goods and services and farms that produce more food for their people.

I don't want to see a country forced into warfare because of starvation. Yet at the same time it would be unwise to disregard the North Koreans hostile intents. Yes, people in the US do care about other people in the world but we are also cautious and ready to stand against tyrannical regimes!
Sidney Rodrigues, Kailua-Kona, US

I find it fascinating that so many posters seem to forget the Korean armistice was signed by the United Nations, not the United States. The Korean War was a multilateral action against an aggressor in the truest sense of the word. Why else would have the North Koreans and Chinese kept fighting toward Pusan instead of simply recovering their lost ground?
Jake, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

Let S Korea deal with N Korea in any way it wishes
Jeff, Seoul, S Korea
I would be interested to see reunification put to a binding national vote in S Korea. If a majority approve then we don't need unwelcome US troops here, as they prevent reunification. Better yet, I would be happy to see the US pull out tomorrow regardless of a vote, and let S Korea deal with N Korea in any way it wishes.
Jeff, Seoul, S Korea

Korea, Kashmir, and Palestine - since the last 50 odd years they have challenged our claims of advancement in human thought and civilization. Why do we not live up to our own "tall" claims?
Gouri Shankar Mishra, India

I was stationed in Seoul from January 1953 to April 1954 at what had been a hotel but had been converted to the correspondents' billets. I recall seeing Henry Cabot Lodge stride past our office window a number of times during the period of the negotiations and signing of the armistice. I was not enamored of either Korean regime, Sygman Rhee being the dictator who we were supporting, or holding up. I had heard from a number of Koreans, usually young, their opinion that the smart people lived in the north, the "farmers" in the south. Nevertheless, with America's buying power, Seoul became, from what I have read, a prosperous city, and South Korea a "showcase." Not of democracy, necessarily, but of what money can buy. We did similar good works in Taiwan, as I recall.
Ted , Glendale, AZ, US

The US occupation of the southern half of the People's Democratic Republic of Korea is still a disgrace. Many people suffer from it and the local population hates the occupants.
Andrey, Russia

To Andrey in Russia. Would it be better if North Korea occupied the South along with China? Yes the US makes mistakes and blunders, but North Korea and China are horrific when it comes to freedoms and human rights.
Barrie Jones, Osaka, Japan

The tragedy of any nation that fixates obsessively upon a constant military build-up is that it must eventually use that military for one or another violent purpose. The alternative to pointing and shooting that loaded gun, is to have it turn against one's own political regime, resulting in internal upheaval of one kind or another. This has a lot to do with how a very large standing army is built and kept in readiness. Until countries such as China and North Korea begin to reduce their troop levels and their weapons, conflict remains inevitable. That is true of any nation that is embarked upon a similar course of building up and maintaining growing concentrations of military forces at the expense of non military programs and progress.
Robert Morpheal, Canada

Korea could have easily been united under one pro-western regime
John Channon, UK
Korea could have easily been united under one pro-western regime. By October 1950, most of Korea was taken by US and South Korean forces. If only the Americans were not so greedy and arrogant, and heeded repeated warnings from China not to approach its border, the Map of Korea could be very different today. I hope that the Korean people (north and South) can one-day live in a peaceful and prosperous United country.
John Channon, UK

It's a pity that there were not American or British troops in Central Europe in year 1945. People from South Korea were really lucky.
Konrad Godlewski, Warsaw, Poland

The 50 year armistice anniversary on Sunday, between the US backing of South Korea, and the North Koreans only demonstrates, the stalemate that still is going on, without any resolve at all, for both Koreas. There is no end in sight but a confrontation of North Korea's nuclear program, with Chinese support, and the US backed democratic Korean government.
Jose Nigrin, Guatemala

First of all, I would like to thank all the people who have come to my country, especially the US and sacrificed their lives to save us. However, the armistice of 1953 left my country divided in half and be targeted by hundreds of North Korean cannons and missiles as well as their one-million army. So when Mr Bush talks about going in to war with North, that means everything here in Seoul, as well as in other parts of the country, will suffer heavy damage and many of us will die of north's chemical weapons and nuclear weapons.

I am pretty sure Kim Jong Il will blow the city and kill millions of people because he's got nothing to lose. So even though when the world, especially Mr Bush talks about the pre-emptive strike of North, I will have to disagree with them because I clearly don't want to see my family and friends get killed.
Young Woo Park, Seoul

I do not place the blame on either Russia or US, rather, I blame my own countrymen
Young Kim, USA
The Korean war was the result of Russo-American domination after the end of World War II.The spoils of WWII were divided between the two super powers and, they have subsequently spread their political ideologies and other pro-communist, pro-capitalist agenda. As a result of this, two Koreas became bitter rivals, and led to a bloody three year armed conflict.

As a Korean-born American, I do not place the blame on either Russia or America, rather, I blame my own countrymen for keeping anti-Western policy that halted the spread of modern technology during the waning years of the Yi Dynasty (last kingdom of Korea).On the other hand, the Japanese have relished in the modern Western technology, especially in modernizing their military which enabled them to be the military power to be reckoned with. Shame on us.
Young Kim, USA

North Korea will sooner or later collapse because communism will cave in on itself. Although it is a great idea on paper, it doesn't give people a reason to work hard. Even China had to change their ways and allow for personal property. But a sudden change from communism to democracy will only make matters worst (ie Russia). South Korea, they should be given true democracy and not the American edited version of it. A clear example is when two girls were ran over. And I don't believe that after 50 years South Korea can't protect themselves. As for US, if the South Koreans welcome you, then enjoy your stay. If they ask you to leave, then show yourself to the nearest exit.
Jay, Toronto, Canada

Why is everyone blaming the US for the suffering going on in North Korea? You should be blaming Kim Jong-Il for that. And how can a capitalist country unite with a communist country? By the way America doesn't want her troops in Korea, but the UN does.
Justin Hughes, Tacoma, USA

Maybe it is time for diplomacy and dialogue, and treat the North Koreans as if they are human beings
Ben Smith, UK
You know China is communist and life there isn't all that bad as some Americans might like to make out. You have to remember that the USA is also partly responsible for the terrible suffering in North Korea, through its isolationist policies. Maybe it is time for diplomacy and dialogue, and treat the North Koreans as if they are human beings for a change.
Ben Smith, UK

I dare Ben Smith of the UK to earn the right to the opinion he expressed above: Move to North Korea, and to try to write freely, honestly, and publicly about the quality of life there. If he can do that and make it out alive, then maybe he'll deserve to be taken more seriously.
Chris Brady, Madison, WI USA

I doubt that the North Koreans have the capacity to launch much in the way of offensive against South Korea. Frankly, if all other things were equal, it would be best to withdraw US forces from the peninsula. Unfortunately, that would doubtless be perceived by the N. Korean leadership as an invitation to aggression against the South. Given the superiority in weaponry the South would have good chances for success.
David, Milwaukee, WI, USA

No one in China likes Kim Il-sung or his son Kim Jung-il. Why we came to the war in Korea? It is for our own national security concerns. To all these Koreans like Kim blaming us for your suffering, see what your then-president had said: "Yalu River is not an undoubtable border between China and Korea". He even had an agreement with US force to run the Manchuria together! So what US would have done if there was a civil war in Mexico during WWII and one side backed by Germany claimed all the south states? We have the will to defend our interests and dignity. It was the case then, and it is the same now. For all our soldiers fighting there, I give my highest salute, for their bravery and royalty, their gentleness to the civilians and the POWs. They deserve all the honour for a warrior.
Yang, China/US

I know that often the US has put too much pressure on South Korea, and the recent incident involving South Korean children run over by an armoured vehicle was tragic and should certainly have been approached with greater sensitivity. I am aware that for many years the US Government supported corrupt and often cruel South Korean politicians, and that the presence of American soldiers; and their families, puts immense pressure on the people of South Korea.

At the same time, though, these men and women often do not want to be there either. They live thousands of miles from home and family. My own family and thousands of others in the US, and many other countries sacrificed a great deal for the freedom that South Korea has today. Not a perfect freedom and certainly one that has had to develop over time, but freedom nonetheless. Freedom to develop industry and technology that rival anything in the world, freedom of religion, freedom of travel, freedom of political thought. North Korea has starvation, economic collapse, inordinate military spending, and instead of exporting ships and cars, it sells scuds to Yemen. And it has one of the world's largest remaining gulags.
Nat Quesenberry, California, USA

It would be nice if some of the American posters here realised that it wasn't just US forces in that war. The British Commonwealth contribution was very large, and my father's generation deserve to be credited. In fact it was British forces that stopped the headlong flight south, and they paid the price. Why is it always the same? I expect Hollywood soon to claim US credit for winning at Waterloo.
Malcolm, UK

US has played fast and loose with the politics of the peninsula
Mike Mertens, Birmingham, UK
I just wonder how the United States can keep up the pretence of having the moral high ground as far as Korea is concerned: the US gave Japan the green light to realise its colonial ambitions, starting with Korea (a country that had remained free, despite China, Japan, and Russia, for hundreds of years) in 1910. It has played fast and loose with the politics of the peninsula ever since. Time to allow that old, liberal value of self-determination take hold now boys, and go home.
Mike Mertens, Birmingham, UK

I was a seaman in the Merchant Navy with Blue Funnel on the China Japan run. The armistice meant we would no longer be buzzed by American Sabre Jets and Catalinas along the Korean coast. I have always been intrigued and never understood why Britain was trading with China during the conflict seeing the Chinese were behind the main offensive. The US air force and navy ships blockaded Chinese ports to stop American ships trading with China and this resulted in many nasty conflicts.

On a visit to Shanghai we had our ship searched daily by armed soldiers. We were taken off our ship, bussed to the great Hall beyond the bund, fed, brainwashed about Communism, taken to another great hall, sat in the middle of several thousand Chinese military and shown a film about how China was winning the war (not Korea). It showed dozens of American jets being shot down and thousands of UN troops being captured to rousing cheers of standing air punching soldiers. Very intimidating!
James Taylor, Frankston Australia

I think Korea would make a lovely test of whether interventionist or isolationist US policy works better. The South Koreas don't want the US there. So, I say we should leave and declare that the US will recognize whatever government is in control of Seoul. That way we can see once and for all, how the world fairs without US intervention. If we are lucky, the US will no longer feel like it has to be the global police.
Josh, US

Until the totalitarian regime in Pyongyang is gone, I can't see the Koreas ever reunifying because the South will lose their freedom, and the US won't allow a democracy to be destroyed like that.
Peter, NYC, USA

I have two uncles who fought in the Korean War. One, was one of the few men in his unit to survive the Chinese incursion over the Yalu River. Upon returning home, he faced an even greater enemy, segregation and racism at home in the United States. He triumphed over both innumerable odds. My father returned home from the Vietnam war in 1967 and fought internal battles for the rest of his life. This only goes to show that no one wins in any war. Everyone loses something.
Drew Best, Philadelphia, USA

China is largely responsible for what North Korea is now. China not only ruined their own country with Communism, they have ruined the neighbouring countries as well. Their, so called, "volunteer troops" advanced down to Korea to facilitate an evil regime of Kim Il-sung, which is continuing now as Kim Jung-il.
Kim, Seoul, Korea

Driven by an ideal he firmly believed he was defending North Korea and ultimately China, from US aggression
TJ, York, UK
As a child growing up in Tianjin, I often heard my uncle recall how he fought in Korea. He was a young man; driven by an ideal and firmly believed he was defending North Korea and ultimately China, from American aggression. He was very proud that they fought a far-better equipped army and won. He also spoke of immense casualties of his comrades and suffering of the civilians, and recall the day he was in hand-to-hand fighting with a young American soldier. Pride and sadness together.
TJ, York, UK

For most of the people on this forum (myself included, as I grew up in the States), the "issue" of Korea is just that: an issue that is not a reality one actually needs to deal with. As the world once again focuses on the actions of the North, one needs to remember that there are actually people who live an anguished life knowing that their country is divided into two.

The pain that the last fifty years has brought upon the Korean psyche displays itself in different ways. For the North, it's a repressive government that cruelly starves its citizens to create nuclear weapons. In the South, it's a materialistic greed and deliberate ignorance that attempts to stifle the gnawing fear that once more, the world is in incredible peril because of the actions of the North, and America's hardline policy toward them.
Jonny, Seoul

I only know most of the North Korea people would suffer much more from the war if US did not leave the country immediately in the 1950s!
Kit Ng, Singapore

When I was in Korea recently, a US Army vehicle ran over and killed two 14 year old Korean. The USFK refused to accept responsibility to the Korean people for this tragic accident and chose instead to hide behind a Status of Forces Agreement that protects their soldiers from the Korean justice system. Even for crimes such as rape. 50 years after the Armistice and the Koreans are still not equal partners on the peninsular. Perhaps the Iraqis can look forward to the same 'democratic' privileges.
Cohen, New Zealand

Korean people in the North have suffered far too much for far too long
Sebastian Guevara, Toronto, Canada
I'm no supporter of the crumbling remnant of Stalinism known as the DPRK, for the Korean people in the North have suffered far too much for far too long. That said, I will not thank the Americans for 'saving' the south from the same fate, it is America's fondest dream to keep the two Koreas separated, for a strong, United Korea would be an economic and military powerhouse that would threaten the attempted US domination of Asia. This great dream of America to keep the Koreas divided was reflected best in the Bush administration's decision to include the DPRK in the 'axis of evil', a move purposely set up to sabotage the historic summit between the two Koreas.
Sebastian Guevara, Toronto, Canada

Sebastian: Such an assumption is ridiculous when you consider that the US benefits from economic powerhouses in Asia, such as Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and now, even China. Any person with any sense knows that capitalist countries' main goal is trade. The US would not only benefit from trade, but save much with regards to the costs of an expensive occupation.
Garry Cobb II, Cherry Hill, NJ, USA

To Sebastian in Toronto: An all communist Korea would be far from a powerful economic force. North Korea can hardly cobble together an infrastructure. Have you seen any satellite photos of Asia at night? The north is a black hole on the map. If Korea is unified under the North's terms the entire country will be in dark.
Colin Keesee, USA

To Sebastian Guevara: That "historic summit" you mentioned that took place between the Koreas was an act! Even the South is aware of the fact that their government paid off the North to hold that meeting. Yes strategy is important, but so is loyalty. Both South Korea and the US benefit from their relationship.
Erin, Washington, DC, USA

The North Koreans are playing with fire and are going to get burnt if they continue to taunt the US, Japan and South Korea. There are ways of asking for help this is not the way to do it. If the US signs a Non Aggression treaty with the North if will give them the green light to do whatever they want without the fear of US or NATO intervention, not a really smart idea.
Chris, Australia

I served in Korea with the British army; it was an experience that has changed my life. It has had me converted into a humanist, it is also the reason why I became a Canadian, but that is another story. One would have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by the suffering the Koreans had to endure, and nothing has changed for the people of the north. In 1988 I was invited to return, I was astounded at the changes that have taken place in the south, on reflection, it is sad that the people of the north have been denied the freedom and opportunity to be as prosperous as their siblings in the south.
David Marsh, Duncan Canada

Korea would have been united country had the US never been there.
Bo LI, Beijing, China

In response to Bo Li of China, would it not be fair to say that Korea would be a united country today had China never been there?
Jason Cosford, Regina, Canada

To Bo Li: Half of Korea is now free because the US was there. All of Korea would now be free if China hadn't been there.
Steven Morris, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA

To Steven Morris: Is it sort of freedom in South Korean if American soldiers could kill innocent civilians without penalties?
Wen , Shanghai, China

To Wen: Is it freedom in North Korea if soldiers can suppress, jail, and kill innocent civilians without penalties? N Korea won't be more willing to negotiate peace if the US pulls its troops out. In all cases the N Korean rulers are primarily interested in keeping power, and everything they do is intended to keep that power. Keep this in mind when you observe their "warming of relations to S Korea." Of the USD $100 million the South paid the North for peace talks, the DPRK purchased a number of MiG fighters from Russia.

At school in Coventry in the late 1950s we adopted a Korean orphan named Han Bong-jin
Peter Guest, Seoul, Korea
At school in Coventry in the late 1950s we adopted a Korean orphan named Han Bong-jin. We raised money through jumble sales etc to pay for his orphanage costs and education. I have lived in Korea on and off since 1988 and have not been able to locate him. My old school and the Coventry Education Authority have not kept the records. I will keep looking!
Peter Guest, Seoul, Korea

I highly appreciate that US and allies have sacrificed their lives for our freedom and I thank you for that. However, the significance is diminishing because some people (you know who I am talking about, right?) have tried to take advantages of it too many times already. More over, I am tired of hearing "I saved you." Just because you saved me, I can't even say a word? And I have to obey your orders all the time??? Once again I thank those who fought for our freedom, You will never be forgotten.
Kim, Seoul, Korea

Don't fall for the North Korean line that the US is the only obstacle to peace between north and south. Their true goal is to unify the Korean Peninsula under their totalitarian rule by the threat or use of arms. The only thing that has kept them from doing this already are the 32,000 men and women of the US military along with almost 500,000 South Koreans under arms, many of them conscripts. One should be thankful that they are not forced to sacrifice so much in order to keep the most basic of freedoms.
Rob Doering, New York, USA

My earliest memory of the Korean War is my grandmother's contention that Korea in 1952 would be a safer place for my older cousin than Malaya where he served with the British forces against the Communist insurgents.
Gerry Buy, Toronto, Canada

My father fought in Korea and the one thing we both will never forget is watching South Koreans burn and cut up our flag. We should pull out all troops from their land and refuse any assistance until a formal apology is made on behalf of the tens of thousands of Americans killed fighting their war. The younger generation of South Koreans do not deserve the freedom that the USA has provided them with. Twice we saved them by defeating Japan and stopping the North Korean invasion and what have they done in return?

I was a small girl when my Uncle went missing during the Korean War
Anne Malin, Oman
I was a small girl when my Uncle went missing during the Korean War. He was one of the Glorious Gloucesters. Only at the end of the war did we realise that he had been captured and was alive. News of his survival was spread over the Birmingham Newspapers (UK) and street banners were displayed over the area where he lived. A hero's welcome! We were so relieved.
Anne Malin, Sultanate of Oman

A job unfinished is a job undone. For 50 years, the US failed to take care of its security interests on the Korean peninsula and now it and the rest of the world will rue the consequences.
Mark, US

When I was a boy, my family had great rejoiceful happiness when we listened to wireless reports on the armistice. My father and mother had many hopes for my brothers and sister to be great scholars in the "new beginning".
Hyun Ksui Tung, Incheon, South Korea

North Korea has no future unless communist regime in Pynongyang is finally ousted. Bush should do it before Kim Jong-il starts to sell his nukes to such eager clients like bin Laden, Khamenei, Assad and Qaddafi.
Merlin, Helena, Montana, USA

My year in Korea was coming to an end when the armistice was signed. On leaving Korea for another posting I had to leave my rifle behind, a requirement of the armistice. I was more than happy to comply.
Hugh Jones, Victoria Canada

Country profile: North Korea
24 May 03  |  Country profiles
Country profile: South Korea
24 May 03  |  Country profiles


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific