Speaker: John Merrill, Non-Resident Visiting Scholar, GWModerator: Celeste Arrington, Korea Foundation Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, GW
Date & TimeThursday, February 14, 20191:30 pm - 3:30 pm
VenueElliott School of International Affairs Room 505, The George Washington University1957 E St. NW, Washington, DC 20052
Event DescriptionKorea’s “Dark History” continues to slowly come to light. One occasion was last year’s 70th anniversary of the Jeju uprising, in which 30,000 people were killed—the vast majority by government forces. American advisors were present throughout and helped to direct many operations. Other recent revelations include the ROK navy’s Pearl Harbor-style raid on the North’s west coast fleet in August 1949 that destroyed a large part of the DPRK’s navy. One aspect of the raid that remains to be explored is how it may have influenced Stalin’s decision to support the June 1950 invasion. Rhee’s executions after the war broke out of 100,000-plus jailed communists and suspected sympathizers is another chapter in this hidden history. Likewise, ignored in most discussions of the North Korean nuclear issue is the impact of US massivebombing of North Korean cities during the war, subsequent nuclear threats, and the deployment of 950 U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea through the 1960s. This hidden, forgotten, and distorted history has greatly influenced Washington’s traditional “crime and punishment” approach to dealing with North Korea. In the last few years, Presidents Moon and Trump have wisely broken with this traditional approach and switched to “smile diplomacy”—which, despite a chorus of nay-sayers, promises to produce far better results.
This event is on the record and open to the media.