US—Chief Culprit of Kwangju Massacre

In May, 35 years ago the whole of Kwangju of South Jolla Province turned into a sea of blood. Thousands of citizens were killed and 14 000 people injured in their struggle against fascist dictatorship and for democratic freedom and right.

The Kwangju massacre was a historic tragedy orchestrated by the US imperialists.

On May 13, 1980, the then commander of the US forces in south Korea and the commander of the south Korea-US Combined Forces, John Wickham, met Chun Doo Hwan, Ju Yong Bok, the then south Korean defence minister and others. He then flew to his country and gained the approval of enforcing a fascist crackdown on May 17. Consequently, a meeting of major officers of the south Korean puppet army was held, in which such detailed issues as on placing the whole of south Korea under “emergency martial law” and clamping down on the democratic forces on a full scale were made public.

On May 22, when the popular uprising in Kwangju reached its peak, a meeting of the National Security Council was held in the White House. At the meeting the then US Secretary of State, Secretary of Defence, CIA Director, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific affairs and other high-ranking officials discussed how to deal with the uprising.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the then special security adviser to the US President, said that the “Kwangju rioters should be put down with an iron fist”. The then US ambassador to south Korea told Chun Doo Hwan that the situation in Kwangju could not be saved simply by the deployment of a martial army or by the security maintenance by police. He also said: This is a great opportunity for special airborne troops to uplift their guts. The way to make the rebels held spellbound to give in is the ruthless crackdown. His remarks were no more than an order to slaughter the Kwangju citizens.

The US also supported the massacre by military means.

It hurled into the operation five airborne regiments equipped with tanks, armour, artilleries, missiles and warplanes, an infantry division, armoured division and air force units, etc, all of which belonged to the combined forces.

John Wickham said: Weapon is needed for politics. Nothing will be harmful even though the population in Kwangju may be reduced by some hundreds of thousand.

The US forces even provided a large aircraft to carry the martial army. Besides, the US placed the 40 000-strong GIs in south Korea on DEFCON 3, and deployed many battleships including an aircraft carrier and a plane fitted with AWACS in the territorial waters of south Korea from its soil.

The US not only gave detailed orders on the massacre but also provided a task force to the south Korean puppet group and directly commanded them.

The then commander of the martial army, Ri Hui Song, said during the hearing organized by the “Kwangju special committee” that the operation to quell the uprising in Kwangju had had to be postponed until May 24 as it was in need of negotiation between south Korea and the US. His remark testifies to the fact that the massacre was committed under the US direct command.

On May 26, the day before the final crackdown on the Kwangju rebellion, the chief of operation staff of the combined forces drew up a detail plan with the south Korean martial army.

The US always stood on the side of the martial army during the massacre.

On the last day of their resistance hundreds of Kwangju citizens who were defending the provincial administration office asked the US ambassador US mediation on the phone. But the US side rejected their request on the plea of non-intervention in the internal affairs and commented on several occasions that they felt at ease about the restoration of public order in Kwangju and that the conflict had not spread all over the whole country.

The American witnesses to the massacre confirmed that the US was a partner who put down the popular uprisings in Kwangju and other cities of south Korea.

All these facts prove that the Kwangju massacre was organized and conducted by the US.

Decades of years have passed, but the US, the chief culprit of the massacre, still remains in south Korea.

The Korean people will never pardon the US criminal acts against the Korean nation which have lasted for centuries. They will put an end to the US domination over south Korea and accomplish the historic cause of national reunification.

                                                                                             Dr. Choe Yon Ju                                                                                             Lecturer of  Kim Il Sung University

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