The United Nations and the Korean War.The Korean War from 1950 to 1953 was the most severe test the United Nations had to face since its inception in 1945. As part of the whole Cold War scenario, the Korean War was a complicated issue with which the United Nations had to successfully deal with or lose credibility just five years after it had come into being.In June 1950, North Korean troops unexpectedly attacked South Korea.

United Nations forces have taken control of the South Korean capital Seoul, three months after it fell to North Korea, the US Army has announced.The US 7th Infantry Division and South Korean 17th Regiment have crossed the Han river and captured the North Korean stronghold on South Mountain .US Marines have also reached Duk Soo palace in the centre of the city and are within 600m (1,969ft) of the main railway station.North Koreans strongly resisted the UN advance near the station and American and South Korean units suffered many casualties, but opposition in other areas is reported to have been light.US Air Force planes from the American aircraft carrier Sicily supported the ground attacks all day, targeting North Korean defences with jellied petrol bombs and rockets.Major General Edward Almond, commander of the X Army Corps, told reporters the combined assault had been key to the UN's success.The general said: "Co-ordination of air, tank and artillery, and infantry fire-power made possible the seizure of the enemy's defences with minimum losses."He added that the UN advance from the west after the landings at Inchon on 15 September had cut off important North Korean supply routes and forced them to retreat.North Korea's defences were crucially breached when tanks from the American 1st Cavalry Division, which had entered Seoul from the west, linked up with US infantry who had fought their way from the east.The troops joined forces at the 274m (900ft) South Mountain after it was captured in a surprise attack.The North Korean Peoples' Army have been in control of Seoul since 26 June, just 24 hours after they invaded South Korea.The UN condemned the offensive and US troops arrived to bolster South Korean resistance just days later.The Korean War (1950-1953) and its Armistice Agreement left the two Koreas permanently separated by the DMZ—roughly approximate to the 38th Parallel and through which runs the Military Demarcation Line—remaining technically at war through today. North Korea's communist government has presided over a state-controlled economy historically dependent upon massive aid from Russia and China to survive. South Korea, meanwhile, has developed into one of the world's leading economies, employing free enterprise economic policies as well as fostering a democratic government. Since the 1990s, the two Koreas have held two symbolic summit meetings (in 2000 and 2007) and slightly increased economic cooperation, but reunification still seems a relatively distant goal, barring unexpected events.

At the end of World War Two, Korea was effectively spilt in two; the south was in the hands of America whileRussia dominated the north. The United Nations had already involved itself in the affairs of Korea when in 1947, before partition, it had declared its intentions that elections should be held for a government for the whole country and that the United Nations would oversee these elections to ensure that they were fair.

Why Is the Peninsula Split into North Korea and South Korea?They were unified for centuries under the Joseon Dynasty (1392 - 1910), and share the same language and essential culture. Yet for the last six decades and more, North Korea and South Korea have been divided along a fortified DMZ. How did that split come about? Why do North and South Korea exist where once there stood a unified kingdom?This story begins with the Japanese conquest of Korea at the end of the nineteenth century.The Empire of Japan formally annexed the Korean Peninsula in 1910. It had actually run the country through puppet emperors since its 1895 victory in the First Sino-Japanese War. Thus, from 1910 until 1945, Korea was a Japanese colony.As World War II drew to a close in 1945, it became clear to the Allied Powers that they would have to take over administration of Japan's occupied territories, including Korea, until elections could be organized and local governments set up. The United States government knew that it would administer the Philippines as well as Japan itself, so it was reluctant to also take trusteeship of Korea. Unfortunately, Korea just wasn't a very high priority for the US. The Soviets, on the other hand, were more than willing to step in and take control of lands that the Tsar's government had relinquished its claim to after the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05).On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.Two days later, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, and invaded Manchuria. Soviet amphibious troops also landed at three points along the coast of northern Korea. On August 15, after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's surrender, ending World War II.The division of Korea into North Korea and South Korea stems from the 1945 Allied victory in World War II, ending Japan's 35-year occupation of Korea. Through General Order No. 1, issued by General Douglas MacArthur, the United States and the Soviet Union were to supervise the surrender of Japanese forces in their sectors, divided by the 38th Parallel, as well as temporarily establish their respective military governments until such time as Korea was either administered under an international trusteeship or achieved independence. In 1948, the Soviet Union refused to participate in the United Nations supervised peninsula-wide democratic elections for a new government, leading to the UN's recognition of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) as the sole legitimate government in Korea.

The actual invasion of the South by the North took place on June 25th 1950. The Security Council of the United Nations met the same day. The Russian delegation to the Security Council did not attend the meeting as they were boycotting the United Nations for recognising Chiang Kai-shek’s government in Taiwan as the official government for China whilst ignoring Mao’s communist regime in Beijing. Therefore, the obvious use of the veto (which it is assumed the USSR would have used in this case) did not occur.

Just five days before Japan surrendered, US officials Dean Rusk and Charles Bonesteel were given the task of delineating the US occupation zone in East Asia.Without consulting any Koreans, they arbitrarily decided to cut Korea roughly in half along the 38th parallel of latitude, ensuring that the capital city of Seoul would be in the American section. Rusk and Bonesteel's choice was enshrined in General Order No. 1, America's guidelines for administering Japan in the aftermath of the war.Japanese forces in northern Korea surrendered to the Soviets, while those in southern Korea surrendered to the Americans. Although South Korean political parties quickly formed and put forward their own candidates and plans for forming a government in Seoul, the US Military Administration feared the leftist tendencies of many of the nominees. The trust administrators from the US and the USSR were supposed to arrange for nation-wide elections to reunify Korea in 1948, but neither side trusted the other. The US wanted the entire peninsula to be democratic and capitalist; the Soviets wanted it all to be communist.In the end, the US essentially appointed the anti-communist leader Syngman Rhee to rule South Korea. The South declared itself a nation in May of 1948. Rhee was formally installed as the first president in August, and immediately began waging a low-level war against communists and other leftists south of the 38th parallel. In November 1943, U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt, British prime minister Winston Churchill and China's Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek met at the Cairo Conference in part to discuss what should happen to Japan's colonies, and agreed that Japan should lose all the territories it had conquered by force because it might become too powerful. In the declaration after that conference, a joint statement mentioned Korea for the first time. The three powers declared that they, "mindful of the enslavement of the people of Korea are determined that in due course [emphasis added] Korea shall become free and independent." For some Korean nationalists who wanted immediate independence, the phrase "in due course" caused great dismay. Roosevelt later proposed to Joseph Stalin that a substantial number of years elapse before full Korean independence; Stalin demurred, saying that a shorter period of time would be desirable. In any case, discussion of Korea among the Allies waited until imminent victory over Japan.

Just five days before Japan surrendered, US officials Dean Rusk and Charles Bonesteel were given the task of delineating the US occupation zone in East Asia.Without consulting any Koreans, they arbitrarily decided to cut Korea roughly in half along the 38th parallel of latitude, ensuring that the capital city of Seoul would be in the American section. Rusk and Bonesteel's choice was enshrined in General Order No. 1, America's guidelines for administering Japan in the aftermath of the war.Meanwhile, in North Korea, the Soviets appointed Kim Il-sung, who had served during the war as a major in the Soviet Red Army, as the new leader of their occupation zone. He officially took office on September 9, 1948. Kim began to squash political opposition, particularly from capitalists, and also began to construct his cult of personality.

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