The United States Military in South Korea

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The U.S. Military in South Korea

On July 23, 1953, The United Nations Command, supported by the United States, the North Korean People's Army, and the Chinese People's Volunteers, signed the Armistice Agreement effectively ending the Korean War. As of this writing it has been 21,279 days, or 59 years, 2 months, since the armistice, which is really nothing more than a cease-fire. Today the United States maintains in excess of 28,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines on the Korean peninsula.

American forces have been officially based in South Korea since 1954 though they have been in country since 1945 (the end of WWII). The reasons for, and results of, the Korean War have never been completely clear. Initial U.S. involvement at the end of the Second World War was in to finish off the Japanese in the south while the USSR cleared the north of the country. Afterwards, the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Soviet Union, events in China (civil war) and the reconstruction of Europe led to the dividing of Korea (without their consultation) into the North and South. Russian influence in the North and China at the time as well as voiding popular Korean sovereignty, (the U.S. military governor suspected the existing government of communist leanings) and the instillation of a U.S. backed government led to nationalist sentiments as well as provoking civil unrest, guerilla warfare, and finally civil war.

In the ensuing five-plus decades since the cessation of hostilities, South Korea has enjoyed unparalleled “growth by every relevant measure. Its population is now twice that of the North. Its economy is one of the world’s largest, with a gross domestic product ($1.459 trillion in 2010, 13th in the world) thirty times that of the North. The South has the industrial, technological, and-demographic basis to field a military that would rip North Korea's military to shreds.” (Perry, 2003)

Analysts in the West often distort the truth and depict North...
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