The Reunification of Korea – a brief history

1910 – Japan forcibly “annexes” Korea and ravages the country. Often banning the language, forcing Japanese names, labor camps, and, during World War II, a sex-slave trade.

1945 – World War II ends and Korea is split into two governing zones, the North by the Soviet Union and the South by the U.S. A problem results with much of Korea being pro-communist. As a result no unification is set in motion.

1948 – The U.S. has made South Korea strongly anti-communist while North Korea has become strongly communist.

1950 – A war breaks out to see if one can conquer the other. The North invades the South but is stopped when the U.S. intervenes. Only to find China and the Soviet Union intervening when the South invades the North. All sides are weary of fighting from World War II and agree to a peace that changes nothing, after three years of war and 450,000 Koreans are dead.

1972 – North and South Korean representatives meet and agree to forge a peaceful reunification. The agreement is disbanded the following year after achieving no results.

1990 – Another agreement is attempted but collapses over the issue of North Korea’s nuclear facilities.

1991 – The Soviet Union collapses and the new Russia cuts off foreign aid to North Korea. China steps in with foreign aid but eventually reduces the amount and North Korea experiences a decade of economic trouble. Many millions die of starvation and the economy is thought to have shrunk by half.

1994 – Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter visits North Korea and encourages both sites to rekindle talks. A meeting is scheduled, then later abandoned as Supreme Leader Kim Il-Sung dies and Kim Jong-Il takes over.

1998 – The South Korean government creates the Sunshine Policy which proposes support and cooperation instead of sanction and threats. It also encourages the people of South Korea to show unity with their northern neighbors and takes active steps to avoid anti-communist propaganda.

2000 – Both sides sign another agreement for a peaceful unification. A strong part of the talks involve economic cooperation and aid sent to North Korea. At the time, the South Korean population is double that of the North and the economy is about 15 times larger.

2002 – Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the U.S. labels North Korea part of an “Axis of Evil,” and the North cuts off any cooperation with the South for many months.

2006 – North Korea detonates a nuclear bomb underground as a test and test fires several of their larger missiles.

2007 – The United Nations hosts a series of talks between the North and South to further the agreement of 2000. It is held in Beijing and China plays a heavy role.

2008 – The Sunshine Policy loses favor as a new political party is elected with harsher views of North Korea.

2009 – North Korea detonates another nuclear bomb underground as a test.

2010 – A South Korean ship is sunk by a torpedo, blame is placed on North Korea. Later in the year, North Korea fires 170 artillery shells on a South Korean island as a protest against South Korean military exercises.

2011 – Kim Jong-Il dies and his son Kim Jong-Un takes over power.

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