While this troop reduction was under way then-Secretary of State Averill Harriman made a speech that figuratively drew a line in the sand indicating we would defend Formosa (now Taiwan), the Philippines and Japan against any attack. Harriman left South Korea out of the equation, and this omission led North Korea’s Kim Il Sun, the grandfather of the current head of North Korea, to believe we were signaling that we would not intervene in South Korea. Of course, he was wrong.
Today we are again sharply reducing troop levels in South Korea. We are concerned that if President Obama doesn’t include South Korea in his upcoming visit that this omission would again be seen as a signal that they were no longer an important part of our defense plan. Of course, our nation knows differently, but the North Korean mentality is dramatically different than ours.
No one can predict the North Korean government’s view of these events or their young, inexperienced, despotic leader’s rationale or actions. There are too many parallels between today and June 1950 to not be concerned. It could be a grave mistake if President Obama snubs South Korea in this next round of visits.
Chapter 133 (The Quiet Warriors) of the Korean War Veterans Association (Fort Wayne) — Kenneth W. Kurtz, commander; Richard H. Loney, vice commander; Wayne Doenges, 2nd vice commander