THE KOREAN ARMISTICE AND THE ISLANDS
Colonel Moo Bong RyooUSAWC Class of 2009
South Korean Army
The views expressed in the document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Department of the Army, the South Korean Army, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defense, or the U.S. or R.O.K. Governments.
The Korean War Armistice Agreement (KWAA) was signed on 27 July 1953 between the military commanders of the United Nations Command,
the Chinese People's Volunteer Army, and the Korean People's Army of the Democratic People's Republic of
Korea (DPRK). Under the provisions of the KWAA, five Northwest Islands are specifically designated to remain under the
control of the Commander-in-Chief, UNC.
Because of these five islands' unique strategic location,
the surrounding area has become one of the primary potential sources of conflict between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the DPRK.
have been violent naval engagements between the two Koreas near those
islands on 15 June 1999 and 29 June 2002. In March 2010 a South Korean naval vessel exploded and sank in the vicinity; subsequent ROK and US investigations determined the likely cause was a warhead manufactured by the DPRK. Most recently, on 23 November 2010, North Korea bombarded one of the islands with long-range artillery.
Although this AY-09 USAWC International Fellow Resident Student paper was written prior to the two latest incidents, it remains valuable for its focus on four key strategic issues still relevant today:
----why the UNC decided to retain those island groups
among the many islands it held north of the military demarcation line prior to the Armistice Agreement;
consequence of the negotiation and establishment of the Northern Limit Line;
----the lessons we can learn from the
---- recommendations for policy makers.
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