It is now 60 years since the gunfire of war stopped roaring, but the war not terminated legally. There remains a fragile ceasefire status of neither peace nor war on the Korean peninsula which has yet to build up a mechanism to ensure peace.
The US has gone defiant against the DPRK Government in its consistent stand and effort to replace the Armistice Agreement with peace treaty and tries to maintain the ceasefire status. Lurking behind this background is the ghost of the cold war- i.e. “UN Command”.
This ghost, keeping pace with the recent US defense strategy, is coming back to life as a tool for an aggressive war that would bring a fierce flame to Asia-Pacific region, the greatest hotspot of the world.
The DPRK Foreign Ministry recognizes there is a need to bring attention of the international community to these moves of the US which would result in an extremely dangerous situation.
The US, according to its new defense strategy, is trying to transform the “UN Command” into a “multinational force command” which would serve as a matrix of the Asian version of NATO.
The ulterior motive of the new US defense strategy, released for the first time in January 2012, is to encircle and put a military curve on other big power in Asia so that the latter cannot grow to make a resistance to it. For this purpose, the US plans to concentrate 60% of its overseas-deployed forces to Asia-Pacific region in the next 10 years. At the same time, the US is stepping up its preparation to drag its bilateral allies in the region into a gradual concentration as a multilateral military alliance like NATO that moves under a unified command system.
It is a well-known fact that the US has since long kept its eye on forming a tripartite military alliance by combining the US-Japan and US-south Korea military alliances.
The US drew its “experience” of containing and collapsing the former Soviet Union and East European countries by relying on NATO during the Cold War time. Based on this, it is trying to set up a larger-scale collective military organization which would enable it to encircle its potential enemies in Asia-pacific region as well.
The US, in order to get round the stiff resistance from the countries concerned, is trying to form a combined force instead of opting for a new one by playing tricks to revive the functions of the “UN Command”, which is nothing more than just the name.
The “UN Command”, fundamentally speaking, is a tool of war which was organized by the US for the purpose of deploying its satellite forces and exercising its control over them during the Korean War. After the ceasefire, the US continued to seize and exercise its right to operational command in south Korea through the “UN Command”. But, as the pressure is mounting at home and abroad in 1970s to dismantle the “UN Command” and withdraw its forces from south Korea, the US had no other alternative but to form the US-south Korea “Combined Forces Command” and transfer the right to operational command to it. Through this, it tried to legalize and perpetuate its occupation of south Korea by changing the nature of the US troops in south Korea from the “UN forces” to that of the forces dispatched by the “ROK-US Mutual Defense Treaty”.
Since then, the “UN Command” has become the nominal one with nothing more than a name.
Behind the recent attempts of the US to revive the functions of the “UN Command” lie its strategic self-interest to make south Korea as a forward base for the domination of Asia-Pacific region and hold fast to it as a cannon fodder for an aggressive war under changed situation.
As the sentiment ran high for independence against the US and the pressure was put to take over the commanding power from the US, the US had no other choice but to return the right to peacetime operational command to south Korean side in 1994. Furthermore, the thing is that it should hand over the right to wartime command by 2015. Accordingly, the US-south Korea “Combined Forces Command” which served as a tool for exercising the right to US operational command to south Korea should be dismantled.
This does not mean that the US is likely to easily give up its right to military command over south Korea, the strategic point in its strategy over the Asia-Pacific region.
It is none other than the revival of the “UN Command” that the US worked out as an “alternative” to seize and wield its actual command control over the south Korean armed forces.
The resolution of the UN Security Council (UNSC), which was railroaded for adoption by the US in 1950s, stipulates that all the forces provided to south Korea should be under the control of the “UN Command” under the US. Together with this, the US moved further in depriving south Korean authorities of the right tooperational command in the name of “UN Command” according to the July 1950 “Taejon Agreement”. Such being the case, if the “UN Command” is to revive its function now, that would be as good as reestablishing the US right to control over the south Korean puppet army.
When the US began to discuss the issue of returning the right to wartime operational command with south Korea in March 2006, the US Commander in south Korea, at a hearing to the US Senate Armed Services Committee, made an assertion that the “UN Command” should increase its role and be turned into a “multinational force command” in such a way as to allow the member states of the “UN Command” to participate in its detailed activities, let alone the fact they are involved in mapping up of the wartime operational plans.
Following this, the US made its gradual move to increase the scale and frequency of the joint military drills in and around south Korea and saw to it that the operational players from the member states of the “UN Command” be involved in such drills, adapting them to the operational skills of the joint military drills led by the US.
The US and south Korea held the 44th annual security meeting in Washington in October 2012 and issued a joint statement “reaffirming that the ‘UN Command’ is indispensable for maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.”
This shows that the US had already forced the south Korean authorities to accept its scheme to revive the “UN Command”.
It is also on a step-by-step basis that preparations are under way to expand the operational sphere of the “UN Command” to the whole of Asia-Pacific region.
The US troops in south Korea, the mainstay of the “UN Command”, has already been afforded the “strategic flexibility” so that it could provide support in case of emergencies in other parts of East Asia. Recently, the plan is actively under review to revolve the deployment of the US marine forces to the Philippines and south Korea which are due to be present in Australia on a new basis.
If any move is allowed to establish a collective military bloc in Asia-Pacific region, this would inevitably trigger off a countervailing force from other countries which are placed under the target of this bloc. If this is the case, it is par for the course that this region, too, would be plunged into a theater to take sides with as in Europe with the revival of the Cold War and increased danger of a nuclear war beyond any measure. Under this worst case of scenario, it is none other than south Korea that would suffer most.
The “UN Command” is primarily an unjust tool which only misused the name of the UN. All this bears no relation with the consensus of the UN member states.
According to Article 27 of the UN Charter, the important decisions of the UNSC shall be made by an affirmative vote of more than seven member states (at that time) including the concurring votes of all five permanent member states. This means even if the US scraped the bottom of the barrel in collecting seven satellite states, it was not possible to make any decisions against the DPRK when one of the permanent member states did not agree on it.
The situation was that the former Soviet Union, which held its seat at the UNSC, was not attending the Council meetings from January 13, 1950 in protest against the exercise of the representative right in the UN by the Taiwanese authorities, not by the People’s Republic of China.
The US took this occasion as a momentum in instigating the traitor Syngman Rhee to launch out a preemptive all-out armed invasion against the DPRK. On that same day, the US did not lose the time in convening the meeting of the UNSC where it had adopted a resolution branding the DPRK as an “aggressor”. ［UNSC Resolution 82(1950)］
The government of the Soviet Union responded to this by sending telegrams to the UNSC on June 29 and July 6, 1950. In those messages, it emphasized that those resolutions cannot go into effect as those were adopted by its permanent member states against the UN Charter without the consents of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, permanent members of the UNSC.
Despite this, the US convened the meeting on July 7 in the absence of the Soviet Union again. At that meeting, it cooked up a resolution allowing UN member states to dispatch forces to Korean War and place those forces under the control of “ ‘the Unified Command’ under the authority of the US” and giving a free rein to that Command to “use the UN flag”. [UNSC Resolution 84(1950)]
The US submitted a report of this Command to the UNSC on July 25, 1950 where it had freely changed the name of the “Unified Command” into the “UN Command”.
It was only on January 31, 1951 after the former Soviet Union, permanent member of the Council, returned to its meeting that the Council submitted an agenda and adopted the Resolution 90(1951) calling for the removal of the item “Complaint of Aggression upon the Republic of Korea” from the list of agendas of which the Council is seized. This complaint was made by the US when the Korean war broke out on June 25, 1950. In the ensuing time, the Korea question was no longer discussed.
The UNSC adopted such a resolution even in the middle of the war. This, itself, is an admission of the fact that the UN made a mistake from the beginning by allowing it to be involved and misused in the Korean War.
Even the successive Secretary-Generals of the UN made an official recognition of the fact that the “UN Command” is not a subsidiary organ of the UN, but absolutely a tool used by the US for the war.
In June 1994, the then UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali recognized that “the UNSC did not establish the ‘Unified Command’ as a subsidiary organ under its control and that it became to be placed under the authority of the US.”(June 24, 1994 Letter from UN Secretary-General to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK)
In December 1998, the UN Secretary-General Kofi A. Annan made it clear that “none of my predecessors have granted any authorization to any State to make the use of the name of the UN” when he had referred to the forces and command dispatched by the US into the Korean War. (December 21, 1998, Letter from the UN Secretary-General to the President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK)
On July 27, 2004 and March 6, 2006, the UN spokesperson confirmed that the “‘UN Command’, despite its name, is not the army of UN, but a US-led force”.
It is not the UN but the US which has the power to appoint the “UN forces commander”. It is not the UN but the US administration which has an absolute power to decide on reduction or enforcement of the US forces in south Korea that are under the helmets of the “UN forces”.
The UN changed its composition with the passage of the time. Given this, the “UN Command” is all the more a subsidiary organ of the US, which bears no relevance with the UN.
The UN today is no longer the forum of 1950s when the US had organized the “UN command” at its will.
More than 20 years have passed since the DPRK became the legitimate member of the UN after joining it. China, together with the DPRK, sat face-to-face with the “UN forces” when it had given a joint signature to the Korean Armistice Agreement. It is in the lapse of 40 years after China came to exercise its representative right as a permanent member of the UNSC.
Despite this prolonged time, the UN flag is still hanging and shows off in Panmunjom. This , a product of anachronism, is simply a shame to the UN.
The “UN Command” should be dismantled without any further delay if the UN really wants to regain its lost authority and impartiality.
The “UN Command” is the refuse of the times, dissolution of which was already declared by the UN General Assembly.
The 30th session of the UN General Assembly held in November 1975 adopted two resolutions on the dissolution of the “UN Command”. The Resolution 3390 (xxx) B, initiated by the progressive member states of the UN, called for the immediate and unconditional dissolution of the “UN Command”. The US-sponsored Resolution 3390 (xxx) A stated that the “UN Command” may be dissolved on January 1, 1976 if the “alternative arrangements” for maintaining the Armistice Agreement are made.
This is how the US came up with the conditional theory of dismantling the “UN Command”. This is simply a despair counsel to avoid the voice of the broad international society calling for an immediate and unconditional dissolution of the “UN Command”. All this shows that even the US itself could not deny the illegal and anachronistic substance of the “UN Command”.
If we look at the composition of the then “UN Command”, it was no longer the multinational forces but the US Command which has only the US troops stationed in south Korea.
As soon as the Armistice Agreement was signed, member states of the UN who participated in the Korean War, withdrew their forces, to the exclusion only of the US. Afterwards, Luxemburg and Ethiopia removed their flags from the “UN Command” which they had left as a symbol. Even those countries that still have their own flags neither have their staff in the “UN Command” nor participate in its activities.
The US asserted that the dissolution of the “UN Command” would be possible only when another mechanism to maintain the Armistice is set up. But, the current ceasefire status is not maintained by the “UN Command” in practice.
In March 1991, the US made an unannounced decision of replacing the chief delegate to the “UN forces” at the Military Armistice Commission with the south Korean army general, a post so far occupied by the US army general. The US sought no prior consultations with the DPRK side in replacing the chief delegate to the “UN forces” with the army general of south Korea, which is not a party to the Armistice Agreement. This was a clear provocation of violating the Paragraph 61, Article V of the Armistice Agreement which stipulates that amendments and additions to this Armistice Agreement must be mutually agreed to by the commanders of the opposing sides.
As the “UN forces” lost its delegation power, the Military Armistice Commission was virtually put in a state of paralysis. Eventually, the delegation of the Chinese People’s Volunteers, the member of the Korean-Chinese side of the Military Armistice Commission, withdrew in December 1994 and the DPRK side formed the Panmunjom Mission of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) to maintain the ceasefire on behalf of the former DPRK-Chinese side.
As time passed, the members of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC) failed to maintain their positions of neutrality which they had at the time of signing the Armistice Agreement. With this, the NNSC could no longer carry out its functions.
This has led to the complete fall of the previous armistice mechanism and the “UN Command” was reduced to a scarecrow with no party left to deal with.
It was since then that all the issues related to the running of the ceasefire status are discussed and disposed of between the KPA and US military authority rather than between the DPRK-China and the “UN Forces”.
Both sides of the DPRK and the US have made an effective control of the ceasefire status for decades of years and this reality proves that there is no longer any reason to withhold the dissolution of the “UN Command”.
Even from the viewpoint of replacing the Armistice Agreement with the peace treaty, the “UN Command” stands in the way as the legacy of the Cold War that would bring no good but only harm.
According to the Armistice Agreement, the issue of ensuring the lasting peace is to be negotiated only at a political conference at a level higher than that of military commanders. The actual political superior of the “UN Command”, a signatory to the Armistice Agreement, is not the UN but the US administration.
The DPRK government proposed to establish a new peace-making mechanism on the Korean Peninsula in April 1994. (April 28, 1994 Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK)
After that, the DPRK also proposed to make a provisional agreement between the DPRK and the US that could replace the current Armistice Agreement in order to prevent armed conflicts, remove the danger of war and peacefully maintain the ceasefire status until a full peace treaty is signed on the Korean Peninsula. (February 22, 1996 Statement by the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK)
The DPRK and US held several rounds of talks at the general-level in Panmunjom over the issue of putting in place a new armistice mechanism on the Korean Peninsula.
The issue of establishing the permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula was also discussed in the four-party talks between the DPRK and US which also saw the participation of China and south Korea. The DPRK and US held talks in Washington in October 2000 where both sides confirmed that there were several ways, including the four-party talks, to put a formal end to the Korean war by easing tension and replacing the Armistice Agreement with a durable peace regime on the Korean peninsula(October 12, 2000 DPRK-US Joint Communiqué)
An agreement was reached in the North-South Summit in October 2007 to proceed with the declaration of the end of war by the leaders of three or four parties that are direct parties to the Korean question. (October 4, 2007 Declaration for Development of North-South Relations and Peace and Prosperity)
As the facts show, there were many discussions and agreements between the concerned parties on changing ceasefire status to a durable peace on the Korean Peninsula where we can find no mention of any method which presupposes the existence of the “UN Command”.
Despite that, the “UN Command” still exists today and, on top of that, it is trying to be revived as a tool of war to be used bymultinational forces. This is an issue that can never be overlooked from the perspective of ensuring the security in Asia-Pacific region including the Korean Peninsula.
The US is claiming that DPRK’s effort to bolster its national defensive power is causing tension in the region. This is nothing but an imprudent trick to cover up the aggressive nature of its Asia-Pacific strategy.
Whether the US immediately dismantles the “UN Command” or not will serve as the acid stone in deciding whether the US will maintain or not its anti-DPRK hostile policy, whether it wants peace and stability or the revival of the Cold War in Asia-Pacific region.
The DPRK would continue to strengthen its deterrence against all kinds of war, thereby actively contributing to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the rest of Asia until the US makes a right choice.