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[Editorial] Remembering the Incheon Landing Operation

Posted September. 15, 2005 08:31,   


Today marks the 55th anniversary of the Allied Forces’ Incheon Landing Operation. Had this operation failed, Korea would have ended up as a Communist nation. On this day in 1950, Commanding General Douglas McArthur (1880~1964) of the Allied Forces led 200 warships and 70,000 armed forces to Incheon and succeeded in cutting off the supply line of the North Korean troops that had advanced as far as the Nakdong River. Turning the tables on the war on the threshold of the nation’s communization, the Allied Forces seized Seoul and chased the North Korean forces up to the Aprok River. However, they were forced to retreat due to North Korea’s reinforcement from the Communist Chinese Army, and the war ended with the nation’s bitter division. This is the Incheon Landing Operation, and this is the Korean War.

Our lives today are grounded on these historical facts and perceptions for we are citizens of the Republic of Korea and not the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea living under the hereditary rule of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. If anyone denies this, we should ask them whether they are willing to coexist as citizens of the Republic of Korea.

Those who have been demanding the demolition of General McArthur’s statue for five months say, “If McArthur had not intervened in the Korean War the war would have been over in a month, and the nation would not have been divided.” This is absurd. This seems to imply that “the war should have ended with North Korea’s victory, but McArthur blew the chance.” It further implies that “there should have been a communist unification.”

If so, then what are the Korean forces who have risked their lives fighting alongside General McArthur? Were they evil forces that hindered the nation’s unification and anti-nationalists who caused the nation’s division? According to their claim, even the monumental hall in Pyongyang commemorating Peng De Huai, who was the then commanding general of the Communist Chinese Army, should be demolished. The Communist Chinese Army is the real culprit behind our nation’s failure to unite.

Was the failure to communize the nation so saddening? They brandished iron pipes and bamboo sticks to the police who were holding back the demolition of General McArthur’s statue. Who is that violence for? If the pain of not being able to live under the leadership of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il is so great, what are they still living here for?

They even question the authenticity of Korea. They claim, “The South Korean government was made by the collaboration of the United States and pro-Japanese forces, and the division was imbedded due to President Rhee Syng-man’s lone government line.” This is the claim of the old leftists. Korea had been annexed by Japan, but was reborn as the Republic of Korea through the March 1 Movement of 1919 and the Shanghai Interim Government. Article One on the interim government’s constitution stated that “the Republic of Korea should be a democratic republic.” That “Republic of Korea” is the Republic of Korea of today. The mantle of the interim government is the root of the nation’s identity.

In addition, the Republic of Korea has been founded based on the citizen’s choice. The May 10 general elections of 1948 took place in South Korea only after much complication, but nevertheless this nation has been founded over the people’s exercise of their sovereignty. The grandparents and even the parents of those who demand the demolition of the statue probably voted at that time. Whose popular will are they denying?

They should be more honest. They might as well confess that they are working for the realization of North Korea’s three ideals, which are democratic autonomy, anti-war peace and unified patriotism. The core of the three ideals is the withdrawal of the American forces. North Korea has long ago declared this year as the “first year of the withdrawal of the American forces.” The same people shouted, “American forces withdraw” not only when demonstrating for the demolition of the statue but also at demonstrations opposing the American Forces Base in Pyeongtaek, and for the closure of the Patriot Missile Base in Gwangju. How many Koreans would accept these as patriotic acts from pure nationalists?

Despite such situations, Representative Chang Young-dal of the ruling party, who had been head of the National Defense Committee in the Assembly, said, “We should be aware of the conservative powers’ attempts to oppose North-South reconciliation efforts with the McArthur statue matter as an excuse.” President Roh Moo-hyun and Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan later declared that “attempting to demolish the statue is not good for Korean-American relations,” but they did not question the essence of the demonstrations which was the denial of “the authenticity of the Republic of Korea.” If the citizens of Korea recognize that the forces attacking the statue and certain officials in this administration seem similar, then there is a huge problem. On the 55th anniversary of the Incheon Landing Operation, we the citizens should save Korea with our own hands.