South Korea

• Du Rae Bang (My Sister’s Place), Uijongbu, South Korea
• National Campaign to Eradictae Crime by US Troops in Korea, Seoul
• SAFE Korea, Seoul
• Korea was colonized by the Japanese government from 1910-45. Young Korean men were recruited as laborers and soldiers for the Japanese war effort; young women were forced to become so-called “comfort women”, in reality sex slaves for the Imperial Army.• The U.S. military presence in South Korea began at the close of the Pacific War in 1945 when the United States, with agreement of the USSR, divided the Korean peninsula at the 38th parallel.• Negotiations between Washington and Moscow failed to establish a single Korean government, thereby creating two separate states in 1948: the Republic of Korea in the south and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the north.• This precipitated the Korean War (1950-53), when each side sought to reunite the country by force. Nearly 4 millions people were killed, including Korean, Chinese, and U.S. soldiers. Korean civilians were the main casualties. Many more people were displaced and forced to flee the destruction of their homes, farms, and work places. When the fighting stopped many family members ended up on opposite sides of the ceasefire line.• In July 1953, fighting was halted when North Korea (representing the Korean People’s Army and the Chinese People’s Volunteers) and the United States (representing the United Nations Command) signed the Korean War Armistice Agreement. This established the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) as the new border between the two sides. It urged the governments to convene a political conference within three months, in order to reach a formal peace settlement. Over 60 years later, no peace treaty has been agreed, with the continuing fear that fighting could resume at any time.

• In 1954, the United States and South Korea agreed a Mutual Defense Treaty, to ensure that they would be in each other’s defense if there was a threat of attack on either of them. The Status of Forces Agreement was signed in 1966, diminishing the power of Republic of Korea to enforce its own laws in cases where the U.S. did not waive its jurisdiction.

• Military service is mandatory in South Korea. Most young men serve as soldiers. They are ostracized if they are not in service. Many believe that joining the military will provide access to civilian jobs later.

• In addition, 28,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea, a close U.S. ally to this day. The United States maintains major bases such as Osan Air Base, and Camp Humphreys and Camp Casey – major Army bases. It conducts regular joint training with the South Korean military and would have operational control over South Korean forces in time of war.