[KS] Brian Hwang's Discussion Question

Balazs Szalontai aoverl at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Apr 16 21:12:38 EDT 2012

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
 StudiesDirector, Translation, Research and Instruction Program
Binghamton University
        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

                Binghamton University

                From: Jiyul Kim
                  <jiyulkim at gmail.com>

                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] 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.
                            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] 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] 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] 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.

                            from my book, Asia's Unknown Uprisings: Vol.
                            1 South Korean Social Movements in the 20th


                              [1] 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] Chae-Jin
                                  Lee, pp. 55, 70.
                              [3] Cumings, Korea’s
                                    Place in the Sun, p. 321.
                              [4] Martin
                                  Hart-Landsberg 1993, 147-8.
                              [5] 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>

                        Reply-To: Korean
                        Studies Discussion List <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>

                        Date: Sat,
                        14 Apr 2012 15:04:41 -0700

                        To: Kevin
                        Shepard <kevin_shepard at yahoo.com>,
                        Korean Studies Discussion List <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>

                        Subject: Re:
                        [KS] Brian Hwang's Discussion Question


                              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> wrote:


                                From: Kevin Shepard <kevin_shepard at yahoo.com>

                                Subject: Re: [KS] Brian Hwang's
                                Discussion Question

                                To: "koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws"
                                <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,



                                        UCJ 5 Strategy Div.

                                            From: "koreanstudies-request at koreaweb.ws"
                                            <koreanstudies-request at koreaweb.ws>

                                            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





                                        Message: 1

                                        Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2012 10:15:24

                                        From: brianhwang at berkeley.edu

                                        To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws

                                        Subject: [KS] Discussion


                                            <7cb59ce69b486f3c15e6bba3e396a6d4.squirrel at calmail.berkeley.edu>



                                        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

                                        they were paid predominantly by
                                        US dollars to go) and 2) anti

                                        (because of past history), the
                                        atrocities that they are accused

                                        committing are not primarily due
                                        to the aforementioned reasons,

                                        because of the type of warfare
                                        that they had to fight in

                                        including guerrilla warfare and
                                        civilian warfare.


                                        Do you all think this is a valid
                                        argument? Are there any primary

                                        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

                                        From: "Center for Korean
                                        Studies" <cks at berkeley.edu>

                                        To: <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>

                                        Subject: [KS] March 2012 Issue
                                        of "Cross-Currents: East Asian

                                            and    Culture Review"
                                        Available Online

                                        Message-ID: <037401cd199f$4b410820$e1c31860$@berkeley.edu>

                                        Content-Type: text/plain;


                                        March 2012 Issue of
                                        "Cross-Currents: East Asian
                                        History and Culture Review" now


                                        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


                                        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



                                        * * ** ** 



                                        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

                                        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


                                        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


                                        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


                                        Mapping Economic Development:
                                        The South Seas Government and
                                        Sugar Production in Japan's
                                        South Pacific Mandate,

                                        Ti Ngo, University of
                                        California, Berkeley




                                        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

                                        Timothy Cheek, University of
                                        British Columbia


                                        A Note on the 40th Anniversary
                                        of Nixon's Visit to China

                                        William C. Kirby, Harvard


                                        *Photo Essay*


                                        "Shanghai Alleyways" by
                                        photographer Jianhua Gong

                                        Essay by Xiaoneng Yang, Stanford


                                        *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






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