Many of you out there are no doubt confused. The Korean War ended decades ago, right? Wrong! The war has never ended ... kind of like our war with Iraq never ended in the 90's.
You still get combat pay when you are deployed to Korea because it is a war zone.
The S. Korean president wanted Bush to formally end the war with N. Korea, but Bush refused.
Bush said that during his talks with Roh, he reaffirmed the U.S. position that Washington will consider the war formally over only when North Korean leader Kim Jong Il actually dismantles his nuclear program.
Whatever Roh heard Bush say through his translator, it wasn't good enough.
"I think I did not hear President Bush mention the—a declaration to end the Korean War just now," Roh said as cameras clicked and television cameras rolled.
Bush said he thought he was being clear, but obliged Roh and restated the U.S. position.
That wasn't good enough either. "If you could be a little bit clearer in your message," Roh said.
Bush, now looking irritated, replied: "I can't make it any more clear, Mr. President. We look forward to the day when we can end the Korean War. That will end—will happen when Kim verifiably gets rid of his weapons programs and his weapons."
The White House immediately downplayed the testy exchange and said the meeting went smoothly.
"There was clearly something lost in translation," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in a rushed e-mail to reporters.
"I really think the interpreter must not have conveyed the president's comments entirely clearly," Johndroe said. "The president made clear in his opening remarks that he told Roh that the U.S. is committed to a peace agreement once North Korea complies."
One of the more interesting aspects of this whole exchange is that the US can't end the war. We didn't declare war against the North, and the US was not the only combatant.
And despite Roh's challenge for Bush to make a declaration to end the war, the war was not between the United States and the North but between the North and the United Nations, and Bush alone could not end the war with a simple declaration. "As we say, `all parties involved,' " Johndroe said, when asked about the mechanics of achieving a peace treaty.
In June 1950, the U.N. Security Council, acting on a resolution advanced by the United States, adopted a resolution calling on its member states to help South Korea repel an invasion by the North.
So, even if the US 'considers' the war over ... it will not be over until the UN acts.
Nevertheless, I smell a poll coming on. You can take it on the top right of this website.
Should the UN declare the Korean War over?