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By Yong-Pyo Hong (auth.)

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Extra resources for State Security and Regime Security: President Syngman Rhee and the Insecurity Dilemma in South Korea 1953–60

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And if needed, the Americans preferred to settle the issue at least after the end of the war. The tug-of-war between Seoul and Washington lasted almost five months, and the former eventually claimed victory. This chapter will study the period from April to August 1953, focusing on Rhee’s efforts to gain a mutual defence pact from the US. The first section will examine Rhee’s demand for an American guarantee of South Korean security after the conclusion of the war in return for his compliance to the armistice, and the response of the Eisenhower administration to this demand.

The US concluded that the time had come to devise some way of ‘withdrawing from Korea without abandoning the entire nation to the Communists’. 26 In November, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for the establishment of a unified Korean government by elections that were to be supervised by the newly created UN Temporary Commission on Korea (UNTCOK). The commission began its work in Korea from January 1948. But the refusal of the Soviets to cooperate with the UNTCOK and to permit it access to the northern zone again caused divisions among political leaders in the South.

57 UN forces were driven below the 38th parallel once again, and the military position finally stabilized close to that line. In the face of a growing awareness that UN/US policies were rendering military unification if not impossible, at least highly improbable as a consequence of Chinese intervention, and that the UN Command might soon come to seek to end hostilities by peaceful means, the ROK reacted by vigorously demanding the removal of all Communist forces from Korea. President Syngman Rhee played a leading role in opposing all moves towards a cease-fire through both his public and private pronouncements.

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