Korean War – UPSC GS1

Discuss the causes and consequences of the 1950-53 Korean War. Also examine if the nature of boundary problem between two Koreas has any similarities to the boundary problem between India and Pakistan. (200 Words)
Korea, a unified country since the 14th century with people sharing same language and essential culture was subjected to colonization under the Japanese since the aftermath of the first Sino-Japanese war in 1910 which continued for 35 years until 1945. The events that followed got imprinted in the history of this world forever.
When the WW II had almost run its course, the allied powers decided to assume trusteeship control over Japanese colonies. Soon after the Hiroshima-Nagasaki nuclear bombings in 1945, Japan surrendered to the soviets in the northern half of Korea and to the US military in the southern.
The US in a state of confusion and regional disorder, hastily divided the two nations along the 38th parallel with an important motive to keep Seoul in its territory. Soon anti-communist president, Syngman Rhee was elected in South Korea by the US and declared itself a nation in May 1948. In the north, Soviets appointed communist leader Kim II Sung who dubbed himself as the ‘Great leader’.
In the years that followed, Kim II-Sung tried to unite Korea under communist leadership and invaded South Korea, further exacerbating the existing tensed situations and marked the beginning of the 3 year long Korean-war, killing 3 million people in the proceedings that followed only to find themselves back to where they started. Divided along the 38th parallel.
Tensions have increased since 2006 when North Korea declared itself a nuclear power and has been constantly threatening its southern counterpart of bombings resulting in constant firing along the DMZ. South Korea claims to find it difficult for them to initiate bilateral solutions with a country under severe dictatorship i.e. North Korea under Kim Jong-un.
Infrastructure was damaged, population brought to beggary. It further increased tensions between US and Soviet Union. An armistice agreement was made and a demilitarized zone or DMZ was setup. However, years after the war there are still incidents of border violence.
India-Pakistan and the two Korean nations have similarities in common :
  1. Both are rubbles from the same parent rock which separated soon after freedom from colonization.
  2. The territorial line of division in both the occasions was a result of hasty and hurried considerations and still remain disputed regions
  3. Military powers in both the cases have failed to bring peace and tranquility among the nations. Hence, resolving through earnest diplomatic solutions is the only imaginative resolution. The recent Iran deal is a reflection of this.
But there is also an element of dissimilarity between the 2 since Indo-Pak is a deeper problem that extends to specific issues like Kashmir issue, Siachen issue, Indus water treaty, Sir Creek, War on terror etc., whereas Korean problem is just a general hostility between two nations only across the DMZ.
Thus both the disputes though unique, do have some similarities and complications that need to be resolved for a peaceful Asia.

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