Korea has made admirable progress from the cruel and corrupt leadership of the Joseon era, the maniacal rape and pillage of the Japanese colonialists and the bloodthirsty dictatorships of its early democracy. Korea has come a long way and deserves a great measure of respect as a free and open society. From the end of the Korean War to 1990, South Korea evolved from a country dependent on other nations for its national security to a strong and growing nation, increasingly capable of meeting its own defense needs. Civilian industries maintained military assembly lines as a separate, and generally small, part of their corporate activities.
By deploying main forces such as mechanized and self-propelled artillery units, attack weapons and equipment in the forward area, the North has a combat posture that would allow it to launch surprise attacks at any time. Under such circumstances, Pyongyang may launch provocations against the South as a way of resolving the sense of crisis or dissatisfaction within its system, or to gain international attention. Conflicts deriving from food shortages or from decision-making processes could also result in an emergency within the North Korean regime.
Korean participation in the Vietnam War provided an opportunity for the modernization of ROK armed forces. In 1966 when combat divisions were actively deployed in Vietnam after the initial expedition in 1965, ROK force improvement, though limited, was initiated through the US Brown Memorandum which promised to support a ROK force modernization plan. This memorandum, howevert did not clearly specify any effect, characteristics or time limit. As a result, the memorandum led only to modest improvements such as provision of old-model tanks and M-16 rifles to the ROK forces in Vietnam. In the meantime, a series of North Korean provocations occurred, with a North Korean guerrilla attempt to infiltrate the Blue House on January 21, 1968, and two days later the hijacking of the USS Pueblo, an American reconnaissance ship, on the East Sea. In April 1969, a US EC-121 reconnaissance aircraft was also shot down.
In response to these events and upon ROK request, the US government decided to hold cabinet-level annual conferences on security issues with the ROK government. Korea was promised military assistance of one hundred million dollars as well as the construction of an M-16 manufacturing facility. President Park Chung Hee, however, decided to proceed further to realize the goal of a self-reliant defense posture in preparation for the future possibility of a national crisis. The need for self-reliant defense was all the more strengthened by the international environment at that time. In March 1971, the Seventh Division of the US Forces in Korea (USFK) withdrew from the peninsula following the Nixon Doctrine of July 1969, which championed the importance of all nations becoming self-reliant in regards to their defense.
The US government declared a $1,596 million aid program during 1971-1975 to support the Five-Year Modernization Plan of ROK forces. This was agreed as compensation for participation in the Vietnam War as well as for the decrease in the size of the USFK. This program, however, did not reach all its initial goals as the aid period was delayed to 1977. Nevertheless, it did result in upgrading a part of ROK forces' equipment for the first time since the truce of the Korean War. The equipment used by ROK troops in Vietnam also contributed to the partial modernization of ROK forces.
On April 19, 1973, President Park Chung Hee gave an instruction during an inspection of the 1973 Ulchi Exercise, to establish independent military strategies for self-reliant defense and to develop a force improvement plan. In response, the Joint Chiefs of Staff drew up Joint Basic Military Strategies in July 1973, delivered the Guidelines for Military Equipment Modernization Program to each service and integrated plans of the three services. The result was the Eight-Year National Defense Plan (1974-1981), the first self-reliant force improvement plan for the ROK, which was subsequently approved by the president on February 25, 1974.
In order to respond more quickly to the North's provocations, the ROK military tracks and surveys not only its major military trends, but also its non-military trends. Also, the ROK military is reflecting detailed military countermeasures to be taken immediately in various plans and is developing them against predicted provocations from the North. In order to survey the activities of North Korean aircraft, a monitor control and reporting center (MCRC) operation system is run 24 hours a day. If North Korean military activities seem suspicious, the movement must be thoroughly tracked and surveyed until it becomes clear; if necessary, the ROK military can receive support from US military intelligence satellites.
During the 1989 Security Consultative Meeting in Washington (the meetings were held in alternate years in Seoul and Washington), the two states agreed that the Moscow-assisted modernization of P'yongyang's air force and army indicated that the military situation in Northeast Asia remained tense and unpredictable. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's Korean policy, focused on promoting unofficial contacts with Seoul though Moscow, continued to bolster P'yongyang's military establishment.
South Korean and United States leaders who attended the 1989 Security Consultative Meeting considered it unlikely that the Soviet Union would initiate a military conflict targeting South Korea. They believed, however, that increasing Soviet military support for North Korea made it highly probable that the Soviet Union would continue to assist North Korea if war broke out. For this reason, United States secretary of defense Richard B. Cheney and South Korean minister of national defense Yi Sang-hun agreed to strengthen strategic planning through existing organizations, such as the CFC.
On November 06, 2015 the city of Seoul held a kimchi festival Friday that was organized in part to keep alive a Korean tradition that is now in decline as technology and modernity have made impractical the communal practice of preparing food for the winter. Seoul’s city hall plaza was converted into kimchi production lines as thousands of volunteers mixed an estimated 50 tons of cabbage with kimchi sauce made from fermented seafood and hot peppers. Some of the foods made with kimchi include: kimchi-jjigae (stew), kimchi-guk (soup), kimchi-jeon (a Korean-style pancake), and kimchi fried rice.
Before the age of mass industrial production and modern refrigeration, Korean families and communities would gather after the harvest and before the first winter snowfall to make the uniquely Korean pungent spicy vegetable dish. Koreans still eat kimchi nearly every day, they can now buy it in supermarkets year round.
Kimchi is usually made with cabbages, radishes and red pepper, but the ingredients can slightly differ depending on the region. Cabbage, radish, peppers, and garlic are among the ingredients used to prepare the filling for kimchi. Thin strips of radishes and scallions, minced garlic and red pepper powder are all mixed together. The cabbage is cut in half, salted and placed aside for one night. The following day the cabbage is rinsed well and the excess water is drained away. The cabbage is then ready for the filling. The filling is evenly placed between each leaf of cabbage.
Kimjang is a culture which people get together to overcome the severe winter by making kimchi. Kimjang, or the process or making kimchi, requires many people because it's usually made in large quantities, enough to provide nutrition throughout the cold, winter months.
In Korea, there is a saying "gimjang (kimchi for winter use) is half of one's winter provisions." No matter how sumptuous a banquet may be, a banquet spread without kimchi is unimaginable. Just like rice, another staple, kimchi is an indispensable food to all Koreans, rich and poor alike.
In Korea, people would bury cabbage deep underground in a pot and put a lid over it. They'd keep the cabbage burried until it fermented and turned into Kimchi. When they un-dug it, the Kimchi would smell very foul. Many Korean war vets began to use the expression In Deep Kimchi for when they were in trouble. In 20th century US slang, the phrase "in deep kimchi" (particularly by veterans of the Korean War), a euphemism for "in deep trouble" and was used in a number of awkward situations.
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list