25 June 2010

60 Years and Counting

On this day in 1950, North Korean People's Army units invaded the Republic of South Korea. By September, the KPA had pushed combined ROK and US forces into a small pocket around the city of Pusan on the southern tip of the peninsula. The landings at Inchon cut off the KPA forces, and a great number were captured or destroyed in the following few weeks.

MacArthur, contrary to guidelines given him by the Pentagon, began pursuing the KPA forces north towards China. In late November, the Communist Chinese Army began attacking US and UN forces all along the front south of the Yalu River. One part of this action, the fight between the US Marines and CCA forces around the Chosin Reservoir, would become one of the most legendary battles in the history of the Corps. In only a few months, battle lines were back to about the 38th parallel, where they had started in June of 1950. Stalemate was reached, and a cease fire was signed in July of 1953.

No treaty was ever signed. While there was no formal declaration of war, we are still technically at war with North Korea. Recent events have illustrated this fact (the sinking of a South Korean ship with great loss of life, North Korean posturing, etc.).

Perhaps the saddest part of the whole thing, documented in the book Breakout by Martin Russ, is the huge number of Christians in the North who have been sent into hiding, prosecuted, and even killed since 1950. Missionaries had been active in Korea for the first half of the 20th century, and the country was majority Christian at the time of the communist takeover. Many US soldiers and Marines told stories of people bringing bibles out of hiding places and praying and singing with the troops upon their villages and homes being liberated by northward-advancing forces. Once they communists moved back south, these people were forced back into hiding (or worse) again. Nothing has changed in 60 years.

I wonder what the state of the church in North Korea is today? I pray for those folks to someday (soon) have the freedom to worship God openly again, as the people in the old Soviet Union were able to do after 80 years of communism there.

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