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HONG KONG MODEL UNITED NATIONS 2014 Committee: Historical Security Council Topic: Korean War Point of reference for UNSC discussion: November 1950 Chair: Ehab Ebeid The Korean War was the first armed conflict of the Cold War; the first battlefield demonstration of an ardent rivalry between two of World War II victors, the United States and the Soviet Union. It is also certainly one of the bloodiest of such military demonstrations, with millions of civilians killed and wounded. It was also exception to the history of the Security Council. With the self-imposed absence of the Soviet Union, in protest of the Republic of China’s continued UN permanent representation as China, as opposed to the People’s Republic of China, the Security Council passed three resolutions at the beginning of the conflict that were clearly partisan for US military intervention, and that upheld the Republic of Korea’s claim of sovereignty over the whole of the peninsula. For this conference’s purposes, the Soviet Union will be an observer, although in the actual Security Council discussions of the conflict, the USSR delegation was completely absent. The events triggering this UNSC meeting will be China’s formally joining the war and the PRC’s increased attacks on the South, in October and November 1950.

BRIEF POLITICAL HISTORY OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA UNTIL 1950 Korea throughout its history managed to retain its independence for large periods of time. However, since the 16th century AD, it was the main target of Japanese imperialism. Koreans used Chinese aid to repel the Japanese danger, but the latter responded with even more force. That eventually led Korea to become Japan’s protectorate (1905) and fully annexed (1910). The peninsula remained in Japanese hands until the end of the Second World War. After the Potsdam and Cairo declarations, Korea regained its independence, though through partition. At the Potsdam Conference (July–August 1945), the Allies unilaterally decided to divide Korea—without consulting the Koreans—in contradiction of the Cairo Conference. The Japanese army surrendered to the Soviet forces in the North part and to the American forces in the South part of the peninsula.


2 Joint trusteeship of the peninsula between the two superpowers was agreed upon, though hugely unpopular in Korea. The United Nations wanted free elections for the whole country, and the Americans agreed. However, the unification of Korea soon became part of Cold War rivalry: no agreement could be reached, and the artificial division continued. Though it was not intended to be a permanent division, by the end of the 1940’s, two new states had formed on the peninsula. Elections were held in the south, supervised by the UN, and the independent Republic of Korea, or South Korea, was set up with Syngman Rhee as leader and its capital at Seoul in August 1948. The Soviets settled a Stalinist regime in North Korea, and one month after South Korea has been proclaimed, the Russians created the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea, under Kim Il Sung’s communist government. It has been settled that Pyongyang would be its capital. In 1949, Soviet and American troops withdrew, thus leaving a Korean peninsula in an artificial divided situation imposed by external forces. Though most Koreans bitterly resented this situation, it was clear that both leaders claimed the right to rule the country as a whole. Syngman Rhee, the anti-communist dictator, was a ruthless authoritarian with American support. Kim Il Sung was perhaps famously worse: he arrested and executed many of his critics. The two proclaimed the “Republic of Korea” and the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” claimed authority over the whole of the peninsula. Eventually, this led to a conflict which started on June 1949 and was limited to the 38th parallel until late 1950.

KEY TERMINOLOGY  38th parallel: the artificial border between the North and the South of the peninsula, established by the US government on the 38th degree northern line of latitude.  ROK: The Republic of Korea, commonly known as South Korea, the government established in then-US occupied South Korea. It claimed sovereignty over the whole of



Korea.  DPRK: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; commonly known as North Korea. It is the government established in the then-Soviet occupied north of the peninsula. It claimed sovereignty over the whole of Korea.  USAMGIK: United States Army Military Government in Korea; the military government set up in the then-US occupied South of the peninsula.


3  UNC; United Nations Command: It was formed in 1950 with the UN’s approval. Although not strictly a ‘UN army’ (since this is not permitted, it acted as such, with the absence of the Soviet-allied bloc in the UNSC. The largest constituents and the number of troops they contributed were: Republic of Korea, South Korea (590,911), United States (302,483), United Kingdom (14,198), Philippines (7,468)

THE WAR (JUNE-NOVEMBER, 1950) On June the 25th in 1950, DPRK’s Army, artillery and mortars open fire on South Korea’s Army positions south of the 38th parallel. Shortly after this, tanks and infantry attack at all points along the parallel. And at 11 a.m. North Korea announced a formal declaration of war and thus, ‘’The Korean War’’ begun. Short after this, on July the 7th, the United Nations Security Council adopted the Resolution 84, considering that the invasion of South Korea by the forces from DPRK was a disruption of the peace. The Council recommended that the members of the United Nations furnish such assistance to the Southern Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the attack and restore peace and security in the area (see section on UN Security Council Positions). The United Nations Command, including South Korea and the United States, fought against the North Korean forces, backed by PRC and the Soviet Union. The UNC succeeds in capturing Pyongyang, but it is clear that the Chinese forces are succeeding tactically in their attacks on the South. They would later capture Seoul in early 1951.

Timeline of Key Events Up to November 1950 This timeline shows major events during the Korean War. It should serve to give the necessary historical background needed for discussion in the UNSC. Event



North Korea invades June 24, South Korea

Whether North Koreans acted with Stalin's approval is still debated

Truman orders air and June 27, naval support for South Korea & calls for UN intervention

With the Soviet Union absent from the Security Council, the U.S. was able to win agreement from UN to support South Korea. MacArthur appointed to command UN operations

No Gun Ri Incident

Up to 400 South Koran refugees were killed by the US army. Attention to this incident was not raised at this point in time, and it was not considered a massacre.

July 26

U.S. troops invade at September Inchon 15

In surprise landing behind enemy lines, US forces push North Korean army back north of

4 the 38th parallel Pyongyang falls to UN October 19 forces

North Korean capital now in UN control

Chinese divisions November 4 enter fighting

With increased opposition, UN offensive stalls and then collapses. Chinese troops push UN forces back across 38th parallel.

UN SECURITY COUNCIL POSITIONS As mentioned before, the UNSC passed decisive resolutions in favour of US intervention in the Korean peninsula, and in support of ROK sovereignty. The significance of resolution 83 lies in its perambulatory clauses (it only contains one operative), which clearly describe the actions of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a breach of peace. Resolution 84 goes further, granting the United States the complete freedom of choosing the composition of the intervening forces, and assigning its government leadership in a United Nations mandated intervention. Resolution 85 further reaffirms this, by authorizing the United Nations Command under the leadership of American General Douglas McArthur, The full text of Resolution 83 and 84 are presented below. It is important for delegates to be familiar with these previous resolutions when writing their draft resolutions.

UNSC Resolution 83 – June 27th, 1950


UNSC Resolution 84 – July 7th, 1950


QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION  Will the UN uphold its military and political support for the South Korean Republic of Korea sovereignty over the peninsula, or will there be new initiatives for a multi-party state?  Will the UN recommend or implement official partition of the two states?  How will delegates seek a more legitimate and representative UNSC intervention in the Korean peninsula, given the Soviet Union’s (and certainly the PRC’s) effective absence from the Council?  What recommendations will the UNSC make in relation to the status of war refugees?

ONLINE RESOURCES FOR FURTHER READING “Korean War.”, n.d. “Korean War (1950-53).” Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Michael Hickey. “BBC - History - World Wars: The Korean War: An Overview.” BBC. London, March 21, 2011. “The Korean War - Race for the Superbomb.” PBS, 2009.

HSC Report 3 Korean War 1950  
HSC Report 3 Korean War 1950