[KS] Brian Hwang's Discussion Question

Jiyul Kim jiyulkim at gmail.com
Tue Apr 17 08:11:07 EDT 2012

Dear Balazs, you are absolutely correct. There were stages of 
deployments (1964, 1965, 1966, and an unexecuted planned deployment in 
1968) and each stage had different rationale. My thesis looks at these 
developments closely and also link the timing and rationale with US's 
situation in VN and the ROK-Japan treaty (US and Korea in Vietnam and 
the Japan-Korea Treaty: Search for Security, Prosperity and Influence, 
Harvard, 1991 available at www.dtic.mil "ADA237979"). As my subtitle 
indicates the three primary reasons in order of importance, i my 
opinion, were homeland security, economic development and 
regional/international stature and influence.

Jiyul Kim

On 4/16/2012 9:12 PM, Balazs Szalontai wrote:
> Dear George, Jiyul and all,
> I think that we need to pay close attentions to the stages of South 
> Korean military involvement in Vietnam if we are to specify which were 
> Park Chung Hee's primary and secondary motives for sending ROKA troops 
> to Vietnam. I do agree with the point that the economic benefits thus 
> gained were substantial, to put it mildly, and new combat experience 
> for the ROKA also must have mattered a lot. Still, these 
> considerations do not satisfactorily explain why Park, instead of 
> trying to maximize these benefits by fulfilling each American request 
> for ROKA troops, put a ceiling to the deployments in November 1966, 
> and refused to send additional troops in 1967-68, no matter how 
> persistently the U.S. asked for them. To be sure, the North Korean 
> commando raids that started in November 1966 probably influenced his 
> decision, but since at first he tended to downplay their importance, 
> and later responded to them by launching counter-raids, a fear of the 
> North might not be a sufficient explanation. Thus I consider it likely 
> that his primary motives for the troop deployment were to (1) secure a 
> U.S. commitment to the defense of the ROK, such as a pledge not to 
> withdraw US troops from South Korea without consultation, and (2) use 
> the troop deployments as a bargaining chip to conclude the Status of 
> Forces Agreement (SOFA) on terms more favorable to Seoul. NB, Park's 
> decision to halt deployments was made right after the ratification of 
> the SOFA by the ROK National Assembly in October 1966. Once he 
> achieved as much as he could in this field, he probably calculated 
> that it was no longer necessary to send additional troops, since the 
> US-ROK agreements signed in 1966 settled these issues. If this was 
> really so, he miscalculated, because Nixon withdrew one-third of the 
> US troops anyway.
> All the best,
> Balazs Szalontai
> Kwangwoon University
> --- On *Tue, 17/4/12, Michael Pettid /<mjpettid2000 at yahoo.com>/* wrote:
>>     Mr. Kim,
>>     It is too easy to blame war and violence on some predisposed
>>     human condition (and that is very convenient for militaristic
>>     governments and individuals who hope to profit from such
>>     violence).  And preparing for war is surely the best way to
>>     prevent it and make the world safe.  We are certainly doing a
>>     fine job of that as I write.
>>     I am a premodernist and I teach my students about the futility
>>     and uselessness of war and how that damaged the lives of
>>     individuals and society.  It is not a human condition as you
>>     state, but rather resultant from greed and the desire to take
>>     from others what one might not have.  I find it rather amazing
>>     that this is something I need to state in academia, but clearly
>>     we have a ways to go.
>>     Michael J. Pettid
>>     Professor of Premodern Korean Studies
>>     Department of Asian and Asian American Studies
>>     Director, Translation, Research and Instruction Program
>>     Binghamton University
>>     607.777.3862
>     ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>     *From:* Sheila Miyoshi Jager <sheila.jager at oberlin.edu>
>     *To:* koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
>     *Sent:* Monday, April 16, 2012 8:22 AM
>     *Subject:* Re: [KS] Brian Hwang's Discussion Question
>     Unfortunately war is a necessary evil in the human condition. The
>     better you are prepared for it the better the chance of preventing
>     it. No one is more anti-war then the people who have to fight it
>     if it occurs. You can condemn war, and rightfully so, but you
>     can't eliminate it.
>     Jiyul Kim.
>     On 4/15/2012 7:50 PM, Michael Pettid wrote:
>>     Mr. Kim
>>     I am happy that you were able to find a silver lining in a war
>>     that killed tens of thousands of combatants and many, many more
>>     non-combatants.  The war experience that was able to "bolster the
>>     competence and confidence" of the SK troops was surely worth such
>>     a cost, right?  Wars are the plague of humankind and nothing more
>>     than the actions of various governments to achieve their goals.
>>      War must be condemned in whatever fashion necessary.
>>     Michael J. Pettid
>>     Professor of Premodern Korean Studies
>>     Department of Asian and Asian American Studies
>>     Director, Translation, Research and Instruction Program
>>     Binghamton University
>>     607.777.3862
>>     ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>     *From:* Jiyul Kim <jiyulkim at gmail.com>
>>     </mc/compose?to=jiyulkim at gmail.com>
>>     *To:*koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
>>     </mc/compose?to=koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
>>     *Sent:* Sunday, April 15, 2012 12:58 PM
>>     *Subject:* Re: [KS] Brian Hwang's Discussion Question
>>     This is all good and fine from a macro view and I see nothing to
>>     disagree with, but numbers and quantification and metrics do not
>>     make history. What is left out is the psychology and emotions
>>     that Vietnam generated in Park, the military, and the populace.
>>     No doubt there were tremendous materiel benefits for SK and other
>>     Asian countries from the war, but the war also had unmeasurable
>>     "benefits" that were recognized then as well for example
>>     consolidating national pride and confidence and providing the
>>     military with combat experience. Since 1953 the only Korean
>>     forces, North and South, who have experienced real combat were
>>     the Koreans in Vietnam including a handful of North Korean
>>     fighter pilots. That experience did much to bolster the
>>     competence and confidence of the South Korean Army. This is not
>>     to justify their deployment or to somehow legitimate the Vietnam
>>     War. I for one believe it was a tragic unjust war for the U.S.
>>     and its allies to have gotten involved in, but we should not
>>     always paint everything about the war in broad and condemning
>>     strokes.
>>     Jiyul Kim
>>     On 4/15/2012 10:15 AM, Katsiaficas, George wrote:
>>>     The larger context has bearing on your question. The government
>>>     of South Korea received tremendous economic benefits from the
>>>     Vietnam War. Park Chung-hee's grandiose scheme to build heavy
>>>     industry required enormous amounts of money, but he had only
>>>     limited domestic sources. As much as hesqueezed workers and
>>>     devalued the currency to stimulate exports, he still needed
>>>     farmore capital.Between 1953 and 1962, US aid funded 70% of
>>>     Korea’s imports and 80% of its fixed capital investments—about
>>>     8% of its GNP.Once the US needed its monies to fight the war in
>>>     Vietnam, however, it began to cut back. In order to find new
>>>     international sources of money, Park endorsed a key US proposal:
>>>     closer ROK ties with Japan. Staunch domestic opposition to
>>>     normalization prevented a treaty from simply being finalized. On
>>>     June 3, 1964, Park declared martial law in Seoul and dismissed
>>>     dozens of professors and students. The US Combined Forces
>>>     Commander approved the release of two combat divisions to
>>>     suppress the protests. Despite thousands of students threatening
>>>     to storm the Blue House (the presidentialresidence), Park rammed
>>>     the treaty through the rubber stamp legislature of the Third
>>>     Republic. When the opposition went on a hunger strike to protest
>>>     the treaty, the ruling party took one minute to ratify it, and
>>>     at the same time, it also approved sending 20,000 troops to
>>>     Vietnam to fight on the side of the US. In exchange for
>>>     normalization of relations, Japan paid $300 million in grants
>>>     (for which Park indemnified Japan for all its previous actions)
>>>     and made available another half-a-billion dollars in loans.
>>>     Sensing an opportunity to channel public sentiment against the
>>>     communist enemy as well as a second avenue to raise capital,
>>>     Park immediately offered thousands more troops for deployment to
>>>     Vietnam. Despite scattered student protests, war with Vietnam
>>>     proved less controversial than his settling of accounts with
>>>     Japan. Park’s movement of troops was so fast, that according to
>>>     figures released by the US State Department, there were more
>>>     South Korean soldiers fighting in southern Vietnam in 1965 than
>>>     North Vietnamese.[1]
>>>     <http://us.mg6.mail.yahoo.com/neo/#_ftn1> South Koreans soldiers
>>>     were widely reported to be even more brutal than their US
>>>     counterparts. At the end of 1969, some 48,000 ROK military
>>>     personnel were stationed in Vietnam, and by the time they
>>>     completed their withdrawal in 1973, some 300,000 veterans had
>>>     fought there. ROK casualties included 4,960 dead and 10,962
>>>     wounded. Wars provide experiences for military officers who go
>>>     on to inflict future casualties. Lieutenant No Ri-Bang served in
>>>     Jeju in 1948 and went to Vietnam. Future dictators Chun Doo Hwan
>>>     and Roh Tae-woo served together in Vietnam, before brutally
>>>     ruling South Korea after Park’s assassination in 1979.
>>>     The economic benefits of military intervention in Vietnam were
>>>     extraordinary. From 1965-1970, the South Korean government
>>>     received $1.1 billion in payments—about 7% of GDP and 19% of
>>>     foreign earnings.[3]
>>>     <http://us.mg6.mail.yahoo.com/neo/#_ftn3> More than 80 Korean
>>>     companies did lucrative business in Vietnam—from transportation
>>>     to supply, construction to entertainment—from which the
>>>     country accrued another $1 billion for exports to and services
>>>     in Vietnam. Secret US bonuses paid to Park’s government for
>>>     Korean soldiers who fought in Vietnam totaled $185 million from
>>>     1965-1973. When we add all these funds to the $1.1 billion in
>>>     direct payments, the total US allocations to Park’s regime
>>>     amounted to about 30% of the ROK’s foreign exchange earnings
>>>     from 1966-1969.[4]
>>>     <http://us.mg6.mail.yahoo.com/neo/#_ftn4> Altogether US aid to
>>>     South Korea totaled $11 billion by 1973—more than to any other
>>>     country except South Vietnam—some 8% of worldwide US military
>>>     and foreign monies.[5]
>>>     <http://us.mg6.mail.yahoo.com/neo/#_ftn5> Regimes friendly to
>>>     the US in Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Thailand also
>>>     benefited greatly from the tidal wave of dollars that flooded
>>>     the region during the Vietnam War.
>>>     Excerpted from my book, Asia's Unknown Uprisings: Vol. 1 South
>>>     Korean Social Movements in the 20th Century
>>>     George Katsiaficas
>>>     ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>     [1] <http://us.mg6.mail.yahoo.com/neo/#_ftnref1> See the
>>>     discussion in the volume I edited, /Vietnam Documents: American
>>>     and Vietnamese Views of the War/ (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1992)
>>>     p. 63.
>>>     [2] <http://us.mg6.mail.yahoo.com/neo/#_ftnref2> Chae-Jin Lee,
>>>     pp. 55, 70.
>>>     [3] <http://us.mg6.mail.yahoo.com/neo/#_ftnref3> Cumings,
>>>     /Korea’s Place in the Sun/, p. 321.
>>>     [4] <http://us.mg6.mail.yahoo.com/neo/#_ftnref4> Martin
>>>     Hart-Landsberg 1993, 147-8.
>>>     [5] <http://us.mg6.mail.yahoo.com/neo/#_ftnref5> Han Sung-joo,
>>>     “Korean Politics in an International Context,” in Korean
>>>     National Commission for UNESCO (editor) /Korean Politics:
>>>     Striving for Democracy and Unification/ (Elizabeth, NJ: Hollym,
>>>     2002) p. 620.
>>>     From: don kirk <kirkdon at yahoo.com
>>>     </mc/compose?to=kirkdon at yahoo.com>>
>>>     Reply-To: Korean Studies Discussion List
>>>     <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
>>>     </mc/compose?to=koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>>
>>>     Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2012 15:04:41 -0700
>>>     To: Kevin Shepard <kevin_shepard at yahoo.com
>>>     </mc/compose?to=kevin_shepard at yahoo.com>>, Korean Studies
>>>     Discussion List <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
>>>     </mc/compose?to=koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>>
>>>     Subject: Re: [KS] Brian Hwang's Discussion Question
>>>     The question is whether or not they got bonuses in order to
>>>     "volunteer" for Vietnam. If they got no bonuses, then obviously
>>>     they wouldn't be "mercenaries." Even if they got bonuses, it
>>>     would be difficult to pin the mercenary label since soldiers in
>>>     any army generally get combat pay when fighting overseas. Also,
>>>     I'm not sure ordinary draftees had any say in where they were sent.
>>>      All told, 300,000 Koreans served in Vietnam over nearly a
>>>     ten-year period. Five thousand of them were KIA, many more WIA.
>>>     The White Horse and Tiger divisions were the principal units.
>>>     Korean special forces were also in Vietnam. Those whom I have
>>>     met are proud to have served there. Many of them, grizzled old
>>>     veterans, turn up at demonstrations in Seoul protesting leftist
>>>     demos, NKorean human rights violations, North Korean dynastic
>>>     rule etc. They love to wear their old uniforms with ribbons
>>>     awarded for Vietnam service, including acts of individual heroism.
>>>     Some of them also talk quite openly about what they did in
>>>     Vietnam -- and could provide material supporting your thesis re
>>>     "the type of warfare that they had to fight in Vietnam,
>>>     including guerrilla warfare and civilian warfare." Strongly
>>>     suggest you come here and interview some while they're still
>>>     around. They'd tell you a lot, good and bad. Sorry to say, one
>>>     of them once boasted to me of a personal "body count" of 300
>>>     victims -- would doubt if all of them were "enemy." On the other
>>>     hand, they were also known for high levels of efficiency and
>>>     success in their AO's.
>>>     Good luck on the project.
>>>     Don Kirk
>>>     --- On *Sat, 4/14/12, Kevin Shepard /<kevin_shepard at yahoo.com
>>>     </mc/compose?to=kevin_shepard at yahoo.com>>/* wrote:
>>>         From: Kevin Shepard <kevin_shepard at yahoo.com
>>>         </mc/compose?to=kevin_shepard at yahoo.com>>
>>>         Subject: Re: [KS] Brian Hwang's Discussion Question
>>>         To: "koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
>>>         </mc/compose?to=koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>"
>>>         <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
>>>         </mc/compose?to=koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>>
>>>         Date: Saturday, April 14, 2012, 1:40 PM
>>>         I think you will be hard-pressed to justify calling
>>>         individual soldiers mercenaries - the Korean government may
>>>         have received funds from the US, but ROK soldiers were
>>>         drafted into mandatory service. If you come across
>>>         documentation that individuals volunteered for Vietnam in
>>>         order to receive funds from the US, please send such
>>>         documents to me.
>>>         Kevin Shepard, Ph.D.
>>>         Strategist
>>>         UNC/CFC/USFK
>>>         UCJ 5 Strategy Div.
>>>         ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>         *From:* "koreanstudies-request at koreaweb.ws
>>>         </mc/compose?to=koreanstudies-request at koreaweb.ws>"
>>>         <koreanstudies-request at koreaweb.ws
>>>         </mc/compose?to=koreanstudies-request at koreaweb.ws>>
>>>         *To:* koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
>>>         </mc/compose?to=koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
>>>         *Sent:* Sunday, April 15, 2012 1:00 AM
>>>         *Subject:* Koreanstudies Digest, Vol 106, Issue 9
>>>         Today's Topics:
>>>           1. Discussion Question (brianhwang at berkeley.edu)
>>>           2. March 2012 Issue of "Cross-Currents: East Asian History and
>>>               Culture Review" Available Online (Center for Korean
>>>         Studies)
>>>         ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>         Message: 1
>>>         Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2012 10:15:24 -0700
>>>         From: brianhwang at berkeley.edu
>>>         To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
>>>         Subject: [KS] Discussion Question
>>>         Message-ID:
>>>         <7cb59ce69b486f3c15e6bba3e396a6d4.squirrel at calmail.berkeley.edu>
>>>         Content-Type: text/plain;charset=utf-8
>>>         Hello all:
>>>         I am a history student at University of California,
>>>         Berkeley. Currently I
>>>         am working on a paper regarding Korean involvement in the
>>>         Vietnam War. My
>>>         argument is that although Korean soldiers were 1)
>>>         mercenaries (because
>>>         they were paid predominantly by US dollars to go) and 2)
>>>         anti communists
>>>         (because of past history), the atrocities that they are
>>>         accused of
>>>         committing are not primarily due to the aforementioned
>>>         reasons, but
>>>         because of the type of warfare that they had to fight in
>>>         Vietnam,
>>>         including guerrilla warfare and civilian warfare.
>>>         Do you all think this is a valid argument? Are there any
>>>         primary sources
>>>         that would help me in my argument, including ones that
>>>         attribute Korean
>>>         atrocities to their mercenary and anticommunist nature?
>>>         Thank you!
>>>         ------------------------------
>>>         Message: 2
>>>         Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2012 11:00:21 -0700
>>>         From: "Center for Korean Studies" <cks at berkeley.edu>
>>>         To: <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
>>>         Subject: [KS] March 2012 Issue of "Cross-Currents: East
>>>         Asian History
>>>             and    Culture Review" Available Online
>>>         Message-ID: <037401cd199f$4b410820$e1c31860$@berkeley.edu
>>>         </mc/compose?to=037401cd199f$4b410820$e1c31860$@berkeley.edu>>
>>>         Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>>>         March 2012 Issue of "Cross-Currents: East Asian History and
>>>         Culture Review" now online
>>>         The second issue of IEAS's new, interactive e-journal
>>>         "Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review" is
>>>         now online. The theme of the March 2012 issue is "Japanese
>>>         Imperial Maps as Sources for East Asian History: The Past
>>>         and Future of the Gaih?zu" (guest edited by K?ren Wigen,
>>>         professor of History at Stanford). Visit
>>>         http://cross-currents.berkeley.edu/e-journal/issue-2 to read
>>>         the articles, a review essay written by Timothy Cheek
>>>         (University of British Columbia) about Ezra Vogel's new book
>>>         on Deng Xiaoping, and abstracts of important new scholarship
>>>         in Chinese. The March issue of the e-journal also features a
>>>         photo essay by Jianhua Gong documenting Shanghai's longtang
>>>         alleyways.
>>>         A joint enterprise of the Research Institute of Korean
>>>         Studies at Korea University (RIKS) and the Institute of East
>>>         Asian Studies at the University of California at Berkeley
>>>         (IEAS), "Cross-Currents" offers its readers up-to-date
>>>         research findings, emerging trends, and cutting-edge
>>>         perspectives concerning East Asian history and culture from
>>>         scholars in both English-speaking and Asian
>>>         language-speaking academic communities.
>>>         * * ** **
>>>         March 2012 issue of "Cross-Currents" e-journal
>>>         (See http://cross-currents.berkeley.edu/e-journal/issue-2)
>>>         *Co-Editors' Note*
>>>         Building an Online Community of East Asia Scholars
>>>         Sungtaek Cho, Research Institute of Korean Studies (RIKS),
>>>         Korea University
>>>         Wen-hsin Yeh, Institute of East Asian Studies (IEAS),
>>>         University of California, Berkeley
>>>         *Japanese Imperial Maps as Sources for East Asian History:
>>>         The Past and Future of the Gaihozu*
>>>         Introduction to "Japanese Imperial Maps as Sources for East
>>>         Asian History: The Past and Future of the Gaihozu"
>>>         Guest editor K?ren Wigen, Stanford University
>>>         Japanese Mapping of Asia-Pacific Areas, 1873-1945: An Overview
>>>         Shigeru Kobayashi, Osaka University
>>>         Imagining Manmo: Mapping the Russo-Japanese Boundary
>>>         Agreements in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia, 1907-1915
>>>         Yoshihisa T. Matsusaka, Wellesley College
>>>         Triangulating Chosen: Maps, Mapmaking, and the Land Survey
>>>         in Colonial Korea
>>>         David Fedman, Stanford University
>>>         Mapping Economic Development: The South Seas Government and
>>>         Sugar Production in Japan's South Pacific Mandate, 1919--1941
>>>         Ti Ngo, University of California, Berkeley
>>>         *Forum*
>>>         Asian Studies/Global Studies: Transcending Area Studies and
>>>         Social Sciences
>>>         John Lie, University of California, Berkeley/
>>>         Defenders and Conquerors: The Rhetoric of Royal Power in
>>>         Korean Inscriptions from the Fifth to Seventh Centuries
>>>         Hung-gyu Kim, Korea University
>>>         *Review Essays and Notes*
>>>         Of Leaders and Governance: How the Chinese Dragon Got Its Scales
>>>         Timothy Cheek, University of British Columbia
>>>         A Note on the 40th Anniversary of Nixon's Visit to China
>>>         William C. Kirby, Harvard University
>>>         *Photo Essay*
>>>         "Shanghai Alleyways" by photographer Jianhua Gong
>>>         Essay by Xiaoneng Yang, Stanford University
>>>         *Readings from Asia*
>>>         Ge Zhaoguang , Dwelling in the Middle of the Country:
>>>         Reestablishing Histories of "China" [????:????"??"???]
>>>         Abstract by Wennan Liu, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
>>>         Wang Qisheng, Revolution and Counter-Revolution: Republican
>>>         Politics in Social-Cultural Scope [???????????????????]
>>>         Abstract by Bin Ye, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
>>>         -------------- next part --------------
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>>>         *********************************************
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