Wisdom of Korea (2003, January -- June)

American Nationalism

Y.S.Kim (2003.1.8)

If Koreans are entitled to have their nationalism, so are the citizens of the Unites States. Since I have been in the U.S. for 49 years, I understand what Americans have in mind. But to most of the people in the world, their nationalism manifests in the following way.

  1. The Unites States should be the only country with nuclear weapons.

  2. The president of every country in the world should serve the interest of the United States.

As you know, George Bush very strongly addresses this point, and his party did very well in the last election (November 2002). We cannot complain about his popularity with Americans.

However, Bush's unilateralism is moderated by his secretary of state named Colin Powell. Powell is in charge of adding boundary conditions to the American Nationalism. How?

We will not discuss nuclear issues in this network. On the issue of the presidents of other countries serving the U.S. interest, the United States is making a tangible progress these days. I said this before, but I will say again. In 1971, Henry Kissinger made a secret trip to China to meet with China's Chou Eun-Lai. At that time, the United States was staging a frustrating war in Vietnam.

Kissinger asked Chou what the U.S. should do about the Vietnam War. Chou's answer was that Americans should work with nationalists in a given country to solve the problems of mutual interest. Colin Powell was picked up by Kissinger during the Nixon administration. I do not know whether the idea originated from Chou, Kissinger, or Powell, the United States appears to be ready to work with the newly elected president of Korea who has never been to the United States. He is known as a nationalist among Americans.

It is well known that there are different opinions within the Bush administration, and Colin Powell is the winner in making policies toward Korea. This is well known, you do not have to hear this story from me. However, I would like to make following point about the nationalism.

Many people worry about Bush's unilateralism or American nationalism. However, his secretary of state seems to be working on the boundary conditions, while being strictly loyal to the president. Fifty years ago, China had a very dogmatic and isolationist leader named Mao Zedong. Fortunately, Mao had his prime minister named Chou Eun-Lai who worked on the boundary conditions. Like Colin Powell, Chou was strictly loyal to his boss named Mao Zedong.

It is interesting to note that Americans are following the model China mapped out fifty years earlier. In either case, big countries have enough talented people to run their countries. The national and international affairs are handled by two different persons, while harmonious to each other. Then how about individuals? These day, one person has to take care of both, since otherwise he/she is nobody.

I do not know how you are solving this problem. In my case, I learned both from my Korean compatriots. I picked up my nationalism from the Hakbyung intellectuals in my high school and then through the magazine called SaSangGe. Where did I picked up my skill of dealing with non-Koreans? I learned the lesson from Rhee Seungman. This is the reason why I like him so much. This is also why I enjoy talking about him. I will continue my Rhee stories in my future mails. I think I am enjoying my internationalism these days. During the last week of November (2002), I was in Poland. I was very busy there, but I managed to bring a number of lady photos. Polish ladies are really warm-hearted. I placed three of those photos to my lady page. Young Koreans seems to like this aspect of my internationalism, even though they say I work hard because I have a very weak brain. It is fine with me.

Japanese Nationalism

Y.S.Kim (2003.1.19)

I do not go to Japan too often. But, when I go there, I am not interested in hearing from their intellectuals because I meet them often at international conferences, and I do not have much respect for them. I am interested in talking with ordinary Japanese men and women. Taxi drivers are among the well-informed ordinary people, and I enjoy talking with them. I met two of them in 1996 while I was in Tolyo.

One of them was one year older than I am, and we talked about the difficult period we went through before 1945 and the post-war period. He then played one of the old songs from his tape player, asked me whether I could recognize the song. I said Yes. He said there is nothing wrong with Japanese, Koreans, and any other people on earth. He then continued. The problem is with the politicians. Because of those politicians, we had to suffer during the war.

I then asked him what he thinks about the present Japanese politicians. His answer was that they are worse than those war-time bastards. I asked why. His answer was predictable. Those war-time politicians, though in a wrong direction, were able to lead the people, but the present-day politicians are spending all of their energy in holding their positions. He noted that not many Japanese prime ministers stay in office more than two years.

When I offered him a tip, this taxi driver declined to accept. He said he does not accept tips from his brothers. He of course knew I was a Korean. Another taxi driver I met was about 40 years old. We were passing through the Yasukuni shrine. The Yasukuni shrine is the place where the remains of many Japanese war deads are kept. I once visited the shrine and saw the remains of Admiral Yamamoto Isoruku whom I still respect.

I told this taxi driver I was able to visit the Yasukuni. Then I asked why the prime minister of his country is not allowed to visit the place. The driver laughed and said this is Japan's No. 1 problem. He said the Yasukuni is in the Japanese territory, and all Japanese including the emperor and the prime minister have the right to visit anywhere in Japan including the Yasukuni. The politicians are not allowed because foreigners, such as Americans, Chinese, and Koreans.

Those foreigners have no rights to interfere with where Japanese go in the territory of Japan, especially the place where the remains of the war deads are kept. Yes, some of them made some serious mistakes, but all of them fought bravely for their country. Then I asked if there is anyway to eliminate the complaints from those foreigners. He said those politicians should make more than 100-percent apologies to those countries, and settle the question once for all ("assari" in Japanese. I assume Koreans still use this word), and tell them to stay out of Japanese business in Japan.

The problem of the Japanese politicians is that they cannot make the apology, nor can they visit the Yasukuni shrine. This taxi driver hit the point. I thanked him for giving me the lesson and offered him a generous tip. I said he will accept because the money is God in Japan these days.

In my previous article, every country needs its own nationalism but their nationalism has to be consistent with the boundary conditions. Japanese these days do not seem to have their nationalism. I tell my Japanese friends Japan is a "kokoro-nai kuni" (country without spirit), and they agree with me. Japanese never had comfortable relations with other countries, especially their neighbors. Japan is a country without nationalism and without boundary conditions. This is the reason why Japan is not respected in spite of its diligent and intelligent citizens.

Please do not look down on Japanese. I am talking here about Korean intellectuals, especially Korean students and pot-docs in the United States. To them, I am regarded as a misfit because I think differently from their respected Americans. The Korean originality is far beyond their imagination. How about their boundary conditions? When I talk with Korean students, they always tell me things I do not like to hear. If they do this to me it is OK. But the problem is that this is what their American professors are telling me. When I attend big conferences attended by many Koreans, I cannot see them at receptions and banquets. They cannot see that they are the members of the international community. In short, like Japanese politicians, Korea scholars are without nationalism and without boundary conditions.

Perhaps the nationalism is needed for politicians, but what does this have to do with scholarly researchers? When I go to Poland, I tell my Polish friends that Poland and Korea are very similar. Poland is surrounded by big powers like Korea. Poland had been divided into three pieces for 125 years until the end of World War I. I tell them further that Koreans do better than Polish people in everything, except one area. They are ahead of Koreans in getting Nobel prizes. My Polish friends laugh, and ask me whether I came to Poland to spy.

In all cases, Polish intellectuals got their Nobels because of their nationalism. You heard about Madam Curie. Frederick Chopin was a very creative composer. When he died in Paris, he asked his friends to extract his heart from his body and berry it in Poland. His heart was entombed on the wall of the Church of Holy Cross near the main campus of the University of Warsaw. I have the photos of Chopin's grave in Paris and Chopin's heart compartment in Warsaw on one of my webpages.

Korea's first Noble prize was also a product of the Korean nationalism. If you wish to be somebody, you should polish up your nationalism. You know many Jewish people are creative. You also know how proud they are to be Jewish.

Geneva Revisited

Y.S.Kim (2003.2.19)

It appears that I will have to travel to the areas of France and Germany bordering Switzerland during the first week of May. In order to get rid of my jetlag, I plan to relax in Geneva for two days. This time, I will stay at a hotel called "President Wilson" overlooking the Lake Geneva. This hotel is not the most expensive place in Geneva, but still is on the expensive side for me. Like you, I am a name-conscious Korean. There, I hope to meet some ladies by selling my Princeton background. Wilson was the president of Princeton University before getting into politics.

Certainly, I am not the first Korean to go to Geneva to meet ladies. In 1933, a Korean man named Rhee Seungman went there to attend the meeting of the League of Nations convened to condemn the Japanese expansion into Manchu. Rhee wanted to sell his idea that the most effective way of blocking the Japanese expansion is to make the Korean peninsula an independent state according to Wilson's doctrine of self determination: Korea's independence. Rhee was thoroughly ignored there, but he was able to impress one Austrian lady named Francesca Donner who later became Korea's first first-lady. There are many different opinions about Madam Francesca, but Koreans agree on at least one point. Because she did not have relatives in Korea, she was not able to breed corruption on her side.

As you know, the Republic of Korea (often called "South Korea" by George Bush and other foreigners) was set up by the United Nations with the the United States as the driving force. But the U.S. did not have any idea about the Korean problem until George Marshall (then the secretary of state) came up with the UN idea in January of 1947. Since the Korean government was inaugurated in August of 1948, we can say that the United Nations was an agency of the United States.

Was the United States alone able to build a democratic nation in South Korea? No. It was possible only because there was a Korean man who could think ahead of Americans. His name was Rhee Seungman who had the vision of earning Korea's independence through an international organization, first the League of Nations and then the United Nations.

I would like to continue my stories about Rhee Seungman. My past stories have been mostly about his activities before 1948, but my future tales will be about the difficulties he had in dealing with Koreans. Koreans in general have very negative views toward what he did in Korea, but I like to be more objective. I said this before, but I will tell it again. Koreans do not like fellow Koreans with educational background higher than their own, but I do not have this complex toward Rhee.

Perhaps the education is not the only issue. A Korean politician named Lee Chul-Seung was once prominent enough to rival Kim Y.S. and Kim D.J. Lee was a young congressman during the Rhee era, and was a bitter critic of the pro-Rhee party called "Chayoo Dang." Before 1948, he was the student leader of the anti-Shintak movement. On the first day of March 1947, he led an anti-Shintak demonstration in Seoul. I was a participant of this demonstration. Can you guess how old I was then? At that time, the Korean communists were bold enough to open fire at those demonstrators near the Nam-Dae-Moon. The communists had Japanese infantry rifles called "99-shik" by Koreans.

In 1941, Japanese forced Korean to change the names to Japanese style, and almost all Korean had to obey, but Lee Chul-Seung refused. He was in his high school and was physically strong. His Japanese teachers could not punish him because his physical strength. He has been a nationalistic fighter since his childhood.

In spite of my deep interest in him, I never met him. When he came to Washington five years ago, I attended the welcoming party for him and heard his speech. He was bitterly criticizing Kim Y.S and Kim D.J. calling them peanuts. As for Rhee Seungman, he was advocating that Rhee be given the title of the "Founding President," but authorities would only agree to the title of "the First President." It was a surprise to me, because he struggled so bitterly against Rhee's rule during the Rhee era.

At the party, I shook hands with him, and he became very happy when I told him I participated his anti-Shintak demonstration in 1947, but I did not have a chance to talk to him at length. However, I was sitting next to his wife. I asked her what happened to a politician named "Sohn Do-Shim." She was using only respectful words for him. Sohn was also a young congressman and a bitter rival to Lee during the Rhee era. He was bright star in Rhee's Chayoo Dang.

What is the point? Lee Chul-Seung consisted of struggles. After those struggles in this imperfect world, he changed his opinion about Rhee. I have to, and many will, agree with him on one important issue. Compared with Rhee, Korea's other presidents were peanuts.

Tony Blair and Korea

Y.S.Kim (2003.2.22)

Tony Blair is the prime minister of Britain and is on the spot these days. He is excessively pro-Bush, while the majority of Englishmen appear to be against Bush's policy toward Iraq. The purpose of this article is NOT to discuss the current U.S. policy toward Iraq. Then why Tony Blair? What does he have to with Korea?

Let us start with a lady story. I know a European lady who likes to be with me simply because my ancestor was a king. Yes, I am a descendant of a Silla king, but this does not mean much to Koreans. However, this is very important to Europeans and to Americans to a degree. Indeed, my "Korean background" webpage starts with my photo with a man named Thomas Cleveland whose great grandfather was the president of the United States. The title of the photo is "King and President." This photo definitely elevates my position in the world, especially among my European colleagues.

We like to think Western democratic countries are classless societies. No! Let us talk about Tony Blair's Britain. This country consists of the ruling class and ordinary people. Britain's ordinary people are like those of other countries. They like to live peacefully without worrying about anything other than their immediate family members. Their king or queen is very remote from them. Cambridge and Oxford are like universities in a foreign land. During the Korean War, there were British troops in Korea, and some of those troops illiterate. In 1953, I wrote for one of them a letter to his mother.

To make things worse, Britain is not a single-ethnic country. The ethnic background of the ruling class is different from those of the ordinary people. Though very unpopular among the ordinary people, Blair enjoys a comfortable support from those belonging to the upper class, who still have a nostalgia to Britain's imperial past.

Unlike Western countries, Korea is a single-ethnic country. Yes, we had a sharp class distinction in the past, but it is gone. Korea's ordinary people can move up by studying hard. Korea's upper-class people can sink to the bottom if they are lazy. Indeed, we are much more fortunate than Englishmen.

However, there is one serious problem. English upper-class people always look outward in order to steal things from out-side world for their country. On the other hand, Korea's ruling-class people are interested only in exploiting their own people. They then submit those stolen goodies to foreigners to strengthen their own positions in Korea.

While the single-ethnicity is our valuable asset, there has been a very serious deterioration in our attitude toward our own people. Fifty years ago, when two Koreans meet, they were interested in what is common among them. These days, they are only interested in what is different between them. This appears in the form of regionalism and high-school backgrounds. Korean names have three Chinese characters, but, these days, each name has two-character extension specifying high school or province. This has been a very destructive trend.

Let us now talk about our Rhee Seungman. Rhee was an extremely anti-Japanese Korean. During the Korean War, there was a theory that Americans would introduce Japanese troops to the front line. Rhee became very angry and said he would stop the war against the North and kick out the Japanese troops first from the Korean soil. As a politician, he liked those who supported his cause and disliked those who were against. But his inclination was never based on regionalism, nor on academic backgrounds. As a consequence, he never cared about whether or not the people under him were pro-Japanese.

This was not a serious problem fifty years ago, but it seems to be the top-priority issue these days. The top man in the post-1992 "civilian" government said that Rhee's regime was illegitimate because it was pro-Japanese, and that his "civilian" government was inheriting the legacy of the Shanghai provisional government. Great, but he did not know Rhee Seungman was the first president of the Shanghai government. This kind of ignorance is of course a product of Korea's divisiveness.

There are many Korean scientists who dislike me for one reason or another. I also like some people and dislike others, but my standard has been strictly based on their research accomplishments and capabilities. Indeed, my Korean enemies agree that I never make judgment based on regional or high-school backgrounds. This is the reason why they cannot put up oppositions to my insistence that I am the life-time president of the Korean Physical Society. I can understand why Rhee Seungman wanted become the life-time president of Korea.

Constitutional Assembly

Y,S.Kim (2003.3.6)

The UN plan for Korea's independence was to hold a general election in the entire Korean territory, but North Korean authorities backed by the Soviet Union refused to admit the UN mission. Thus, the UN-supervised election was held only in the territory south of the 38th parallel. The UN's plan was to elect an appropriate number of congressmen with two-year term. Then, within the two-year period, Koreans would set up the constitution and a democratic government. The plan did not say who would provide the administration during this two-year period, but it was not a big issue. Rhee Seungman was already in charge of the country since the October of 1947. The first congressional election was held on May 12, 1948, and Koreans were able to elect 198 congressman from the 200 district. The election was not possible in the Cheju Province because of the communist revolt.

How did this congress perform? Let me give the final grade first. The voter participation in the 1948 election was 95 percent. Koreans were quite hopeful about constructing a democratic nation. The second congressional election was held on May 30, 1950 less than one month before the 6.25 day. The voter participation was only 73 percent. This sharp decline from 95 to 73 was a clear indication that Koreans had lost confidence in their government, particularly in the National Assembly.

What went wrong with this first and constitutional government? The basic problem was that those congressmen did not know what the constitution was all about. The first draft of the constitution was written by Dr. Yoo Jin-Oh, but was drastically modified by Rhee Seungman night before the presentation to the Assembly. Those congressman unambiguously approved the constitution because it was presented by Rhee. They did not know what they were doing.

Instead, these congressmen were interested in extending their term from two years to four. There talked about many non-constructive items. The most serious issue was the withdrawal of American troops. At that time, there were two under-strength U.S. divisions in Korea. Their reasoning was that Korea is an independent country, and should not allow foreign troops in the Korean territory.

The advocate of the U.S. troop withdrawal was one of the vice chairmen of the National Assembly. His name was Kim Yak-Soo. Rhee's pro-American security agency found out Kim's connection with the South Korean Communist Party (called Namro-dang). He was arrested at his concubine's house, and later executed. Yes, it was quite common at that time for a person as high as congressman to have one or two extra wives.

Another hot issue was to punish pro-Japanese traitors. However, those congressmen did not realize the seriousness of the problem. It was and still is difficult what constitutes the crime. Without a clear definition, it was very difficult to indict anyone. Eventually, this issue became a power struggle between Rhee Seungman and the National Assembly. Rhee refused to punish those labelled as pro-Japanese by the congressmen. This is the reason why some people still say Rhee was pro-Japanese.

Perhaps the most serious problem for Rhee was the motion to revise the constitution to the cabinet responsible system where the president does not have any power. I will talk more about this in more detail next time.

How about the legislature concerning the livelihood of ordinary Koreans? The remotest thing to them. Rhee's first proposal to the Assembly was the land-reform bill, but it was not passed until the spring of 1950. How about the manner of debates? Fist fights as needed.

It was quite appropriate for Koreans to give a non-confidence vote to the congressmen by reducing voter participating rate from 95 percent to 73 two years later. This certainly did not discourage Kim Il-Sung to launch a full scale attack against the South. I will talk more about the National Asembly and it relation with Rhee in my later articles. It would also be interesting to compare the congressmen of 1948 and those of 2003.

First Days of the Constitutional Assembly

Y.S.Kim (2003.3.9)

I mentioned in my previous article that the vice-chairman of the National Assembly was arrested while he was with his concubine. Indeed, at that time, it was a status symbol for a man of distinction to have extra wives. During the 5.10 election in 1948, there was a group of Korean women telling voters not to vote for those with extras. Indeed, Korea's democracy has a colorful history.

Korea's first constitution was adopted by the National Assembly on July 17, 1948. Then Rhee Seungman was elected as the president by the absolute majority of the Assembly votes. Alas, people suddenly realized that Rhee was becoming dictatorial. The voting groups in the National Assembly started raising oppositions to Rhee. The first opposition Rhee faced was his appointment of the prime minister. Rhee appointed Mr. Lee Yoon-Young as the prime minister, but the Assembly rejected him. Instead, the Assembly insisted on Kim Sung-Soo, but Rhee was deadly against Kim. As a compromise, Lee Bum-Suk became the first prime minister.

Who was Lee Yoon-Young? He was Cho Man-Shik's right-had man in Pyongyang, and Rhee wanted to prove that his government is also for all Koreans in the North. Who was Cho Man-Shik? Like Park Hung-Young, he was the nationalist leader in the North. Unlike Park in the South, Cho was a Christian and pro-American. When the Soviets moved into the North, Stalin and Beria wanted to make Cho their puppet, and the man responsible for persuading Cho was a young man named Kim Young-Hwan. Kim Young-Hwan was not able to convert Cho. Then, Stalin and Beria in Moscow changed Kim Young-Hwan's name to Kim Il-Sung. This "gazza" Kim Il-Sung ruled North Korea until 1994.

Cho Man-Shik then disappeared from the world, and his family moved to the South. His daughter used to come to my house often because she went to high school together with my mother in Pyongyang. Thus, my story of Cho and Kim Il-Sung is very accurate. The fact is that North Korea's Kim Il-Sung was not Kim Il-Sung until October 14, 1945. Indeed, he has nothing to do with the Bocheonbo operation. The leaders of the Bocheonbo raid were Park Dahl and Park Keum-Chul. I talked about them in my earlier articles.

After voting down Lee Yoon-Young, Rhee appointed Lee Bum-Suk. He was the commander of the Kwangbok Army in Shanghai. Immediately after Japan surrendered on August 15 (1945), he flew to Seoul in order to accept the surrender from the Japanese army in Korea, but Japanese authorities refused to accept him. He had to go back to Shanghai from the airport. He was a man of organization, and his talent was recognized even by John R. Hodge who was the commander of the U.S. Forces in Korea. Hodge, while giving considerable freedom to Korean communists, knew that he needed an effective anti-communist group. Hodge then offered some money to Lee Bum-Suk to organize a youth group called "Minjok Cheong-Ryung Dan."

Rhee Seungman also recognized Lee's talent and appointed him as the defense minister in his first cabinet. Noting that the opposition to him from the National Assembly was coming from the organization of the political party called "Hanmin Dang" (Hankook Minju Dang), Rhee appointed Lee Bum-Suk as the prime minister to counter the opposition in the Aseembly. I will talk more about this "Hanmin Dang" in my later articles. Thanks to his organizational skill, Lee was able to get the approval from the Assembly and became the first prime minister.

Lee Bum-Suk was displaced in 1949 by a mystery man named Shin Sung-Mo, but was called in again by Rhee during the political crises of 1952. I will of course talk in detail about the 1952 events in my later articles. Lee was called in again in 1960 during the last days of Rhee's reign, but he was not able to do anything to save Rhee.

During the first meeting of the Constitutional Assembly, Rhee Seungman was elected as the Chairman. There were two vice chairs. One was Shin Ik-Hee and the other was Kim Dong-Won. My relatives say that Kim Dong-Won was one of my remote relatives, but I do not know anything about him. After Rhee became the President, Shin Ik-Hee became the Chairman of the Assembly, and the vice chairs were Kim Dong-Won and Kim Yak-Soo. I talked about Kim Yak-Soo in my previous article.

Henry Kissinger talks about Korea.

Y.S.Kim (2003.3.17)

Tonight in the United States, everybody is talking about Iraq. But, I was studying a newspaper article about Korea written by Henry Kissinger. It was published in major U.S. newspapers including the Washington Post. For your information, I scanned the article and placed into my personal file. You can read this article if you visit

From The Washington Post (Monday, March 17, 2003)

Henry A. Kissinger

The U.S. can't go it alone on North Korea

Given the recent history -- two sets of agreements with the United States broken by North Korea within a decade -- it is difficult to understand why so many nations are now urging bilateral negotiations to "solve" a crisis that is entirely of North Korea's creation. Pyongyang says it wants from the United States a nonaggression treaty plus demands to be unveiled in the course of the negotiation -- in return for selling us yet another "standstill" agreement on its nuclear program. The proposal is deceptive on its face. The most Stalinist regime in the world - one that has abandoned all existing agreements with the United States, killed half the South Korean government in an assassination plot in Rangoon, abducted more than a score of Japanese for forcible labor in Korea (and many more South Koreans) and blown up a civilian South Korean airliner -- is not likely to be reassured by a nonaggression

Moreover, such a treaty would represent an admission by the United States that it constitutes a special threat requiring a special arrangement. Pyongyang clearly calcu- lates that, having stigmatized the United States by the fact of the treaty, it can then use it to charge us with violating its provisions. Any American deployment in nearby countries, such as Japan and Korea, any normal troop rotation, or whatever other policies ingenious North Korean diplomacy decides to challenge would become fair game and would trigger another round of nuclear blackmail.

A bilateral U.S.-North Korean negotiation would involve two further traps. Given the growing nationalism in South Korea, any deadlock would be blamed on the United States, further poisoning South Korean-American relationships. Or else Pyongyang could use bilateral negotiations to emerge as the spokesman of Korean nationalism and to marginalize South Korea as a puppet of the United States. Tempting the United States into bilateral negotiations would enhance North Korea's political standing while legitimizing its nuclear status, providing Pyongyang with maximum flexibility with a minimum of obligation. It would create incentives for nuclear proliferation elsewhere; it would bring about a situation in which the enforcement of any agreement would be America's responsibility, with none of the neighboring countries having undertaken any obligation regarding a development that profoundly affects them. And the argument that bilateral negotiations are urgent to prevent North Korean reprocessing would institutionalize nuclear blackmail during negotiations, in the enforcement of any agreement, and for whatever demands Pyongyang may raise afterward.

The fundamental fact is that no compromise is possible between a North Korea armed with nuclear weapons and a nonnuclear one. If Pyongyang emerges from this crisis with an unimpaired nuclear and missile capability enhanced by its demonstrated capability of evasion, the door will be open to nearly unrestrained global proliferation and to a major challenge to the balance of power in North Asia. The goal of policy must be a nonnuclear Korea.

A key challenge is to determine North Korea's objectives. Is there some combination of assurance and aid that might induce Pyongyang into a nonnuclear future? Or has North Korea concluded that it must have a nuclear military capability to survive, in which case diplomacy-whether bilateral or multilateral-must fail?

Before drawing such conclusions, it is imperative to involve China, Japan and Russia, together with South Korea, in an effort to solve the nuclear problem on the peninsula. A denuclearized Korea can be achieved only by confronting Pyongyang with consequences it is unwilling to face. If the United States undertakes this task alone, the likelihood of a military confrontation is magnified, because Pyongyang may then count on the opposition of South Korea and the standing-aside of China, Japan and Russia to negate our solitary pressures.

China and Japan would be vitally affected by a North Korean nuclear capability and by Pyongyang's acquisition of a capacity for nuclear blackmail. Japan will not stand by when nuclear weapons are being produced and perhaps proliferated by a nearby neighbor. It will either enter the nuclear field or greatly increase its armaments or both. For China, a permanent nuclear crisis at its borders could lead either to another Korean war or to the collapse of its North Korean buffer or both, with streams of refugees crossing the Yalu River. Russia, with unstable regimes along its long borders, should seek to forestall a development giving an impetus to nuclear proliferation.

No country is more directly and perhaps overwhelmingly affected than our ally South Korea. Through every previous crisis, South Korea held fast to the U.S. security alliance and built its own considerable military power in close alliance with ours. But at least since the presidency of Kim Dae Jung starting in 1998, a major change in South Korean priorities has taken place.' Seoul went far beyond previous South Kore- an governments in promoting engagement with the North (the "sunshine policy"). This policy was supported by the Clinton administration. Kim Dae Jung wanted to create a better psychological climate for the security issue by focusing first on so-called soft issues, such as family reunification and economic cooperation.

But Pyongyang never meaningfully implemented the family reunification agreement, nor did it create incentives for investment. The new Bush administration analyzed Pyongyang's strategy correctly, but when it put forward its conclusions bluntly, a rift opened up with the South Korean hopes about the sunshine policy. The recently elected South Korean administration has made this difference explicit and carried it to an extreme. It rejects any hint of military pressure on North Korea by the United States. But in the absence of such pressure, it is difficult to oblige North Korea to act reasonably. Negotiations (bilateral or multilateral) are bound to turn into a catalogue of North Korean demands, which, in its present frame of mind, Seoul is likely to embrace at least in part.

Perhaps a majority of South Koreans give denuclearization of the peninsula a low priority if only because denuclearization of North Korea does not significantly dismiss the threat to Seoul. Leftist groups treat America as the source of tensions; pacifists justify the North Korean program as a response to American threats; nationalists see in the North Korean program an affirmation of Korean dignity. The new South Korean government seems to imagine itself not as an ally but as an intermediary between North Korea and the United States and urges the United States to negotiate a peaceful solution to the North Korean nuclear program, which, coupled with the renunciation of pressure, means acceding to many of Pyongyang's demands.

But for America and, it is hoped, the other nations of Asia, nonproliferation is a vital issue. If the South Korean and American objectives prove irreconcilable, the American deployment in Korea becomes a hostage to the North Korean nuclear program and South Korean politics-a state of affairs incompatible with a healthy U.S.-South Korean security relationship and, in the long run, with American deployment on the Korean Peninsula.

Assessment of the alliance and its strategy is imperative. This requires a more careful analysis of the actual North Korean threat to Seoul. True, Pyongyang has the capacity to do extraordinary damage, but only at the price of its own obliteration. Thus, on the Korean Peninsula there has been re-created the classic standoff of the Cold War. Both sides will shrink from the use of ultimate L force. But they will have to find a strategy below this threshold to protect their vital interests. To calculate this threshold correctly becomes one of the tasks of American Korean policy, preferably in alliance with South Korea.

A serious strategy will try to counter North Korea's intransigence and outrageous playing of the nuclear card with a broader multilateral approach addressing the security situation on the Korean Peninsula as a whole. Such a course could strive to address the aims of all parties: the nuclear issue, an attempt to end the isolation of North Korea, and economic cooperation. This can occur only within the context of a nonnuclear Korea.

The role of China will be crucial. Beijing cannot be enlisted in this effort by abstract appeals for assistance in a nonproliferation strategy. For China's interests include the role of North Korea as a buffer on traditional invasion routes and nuclear deployment, not only in Korea but in the rest of Asia. What is needed is an elaboration of the strategic dialogue that the meetings between the Chinese and American presidents have initiated. The stakes are high. For if such an understanding proves unachievable, American strategy will inevitably gravitate either toward removing the reprocessing plant by force or toward a deterrent posture along the periphery of Asia increasingly reliant on nuclear weapons and enhanced missile defense.

One way to achieve these goals is by a conference on the security future of the Korean Peninsula involving China, Russia, Japan, the two Koreas and the United States. Such a conference could place the North Korean nuclear problem in the context of other concerns by the countries involved. Neither China nor Japan has an interest in the collapse of a North Korean political entity -- though the ultimate key to pyongyang's survival is to build a more humane set of institutions. In such a context, all participants could renounce force in changing North Korea's borders, thereby achieving the nonaggression guarantee pyongyang professes to seek. It could provide a framework for integrating North Korea into the world economy. It could leave the issue of unification to negotiating between the two Koreas. What it must not do is to ratify nuclear weapons in North Korea. Time is of the essence. For soon the plutonium production in North Korea will reach a level beyond the capacity of the international system to control.

The writer, a former secretary of state, is president of Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm.
@2003 Tribune Media Services International

Click here for Kissinger's bio.

Reproduction of this article for profit-purpose is strictly forbidden. On the other hand, it is an accepted practice, sometimes encouraged, to make published articles available to interested particles for non-profit research purposes.


What is so great about Henry Kissinger? As I said in my earlier articles, Kissinger is one of very small number of Americans who knows Koreans have their own nationalism. It is safe to say that Kissinger is an American imperialist. This is the reason why his article is so interesting. I thinks he is a very smart person and I like his articles.

Koreans lived with Americans since 1945. Yet not many Koreans understand the United States correctly. The Korean government often sends special diplomatic missions to Washington, but they always end up with disaster. Korean professors invite "world-famous" scientists to their research groups and pad their pockets with one-hundred dollar bills. After they come to the U.S., they say Korea is a hopeless country. Koreans do not know how to deal with Americans. How about Americans? It is quite safe to say that Americans do not know how to deal with Koreans.

In this environment, it is quite refreshing to read Kissinger's article. I am very happy tonight to send out an announcement for positions in computers and electronics. As many of you know, I was an electronics bug when I was a high-school student. Even these days, I write articles about computers and communications. I even practice my communication technology. Most you know that I communicate well with ladies. In addition, I am skilful in making people to come to my website.

Last week, I constructed a webapge about John von Neumann and computer chronology. I mentioned there the role of optical devices in future computers. By the way, I am publishing research articles on this subject in the Physical Review E these days, and my co-authors are nice-looking ladies.

Unlike in refereed journals, I have freedom of speech in my webpages. In the above-mentioned webpage, I stated God created photons, light waves, and the media throughout they propagate. As an evidence, I mentioned Noah's flood and rainbow. Two days after I put up this story, I received the following e-mail from a person who once was interested in finding the remains of Noah's ark.

I never met him, but he was came to my webpage because I talk about Noah. It happened two days after I added the story. I know communication is very powerful, but I am not able to measure how strong it is or will be.

If you are interested in my story about von Neumann and computer chronology, visit my stories page and click on Computer Chronology.

Voting Groups in the National Assembly

Y.S.Kim (2003.3.19)

Koreans had three years to prepare themselves for democracy starting from August 15 (1945) to August 15 (1948). Everybody knows what happened in 1945, but not many young Koreans know the significance of the 1948 event. On August 15 of 1948, the government of the Republic of Korea was inaugurated with Rhee Seungman as the president, Shin Ikhee as the chairman of the National Assembly, and Kim Byung-Ro as the chief justice. The country had cabinet ministers, assembly men, army, navy and police chiefs, mayors, and every need Gantu. Koreans were quite hopeful about their democracy.

On the other hand, did those government people know how to work together with a common goal? This was, has been, and still is the problem for Korea's democracy. Of course, there has been some improvements over the past sixty years. One notable improvement is that the education level is very high now than before. We do not hear these days about fist fights in the national assembly hall. One the other hand, there have been deteriorations in several areas, which I hope to address in my future articles.

As you can see, democracy is run by political parties these days, but Koreans did not and still do not like the concept of parties because of their own history. Koreans know how the country was ruined by the party and faction quarrels ruined the country during the Yi dynasty. Furthermore, the only party known to Koreans in 1945 was the communist party. Thus, the word "dang" (party) has an evil meaning to Koreans. Rhee Seungman knew this, and he said he would lead the country without parties.

This was one of the most serious misjudgments Rhee made during the thee-year period 1945-48. He changed his mind in 1952 and formed a new party called "Chayu-Dang," but this party thoroughly failed to earn the trust of the people and led to the downfall of Rhee in 1960.

During the period 1945-48, the communist party became very strong thanks to the political freedom offered by the commander of the U.S. forces in Korea, but they were driven underground before the 5.10 election in 1948. As for non-communist parties, the party named "Hanmin-Dang" (Hankook Minju Dang) was a bona-fide political party. It consisted of well-to-do Koreans who did well during the Japanese occupation. According to the view of young Koreans these days, they were pro-Japanese traitors. This party had money and many college graduates. There also was an anti-communist party called "Daehan Kookmin Dang" consisting of self-proclaimed patriots.

Among the 198 members of the National Assembly, there were about forty Hanmin-Dang members, about ten Kookmin-Dang members, about sixty "Dok-Chok" members, and the rest wihout party affiliations. What was Dok-Chok? In July of 1946, there was a gathering of concerned Koreans and formed an association called "Dokrip Chokchin Wiwon Hoe." Both Kim Koo and Rhee Seungman came to the meeting. There Kim Koo was humble enough to say Rhee should be the No. 1 man. This Dok-Chok organization later became an association of Rhee supporters, but they did not have enough resources to form a political party.

Thus, the strongest voting block in the National Assembly was the Hanmin-Dang. This party was politically skilful enough to strike deal with the members of the Kookmin-Dang members and with the chairman of the National Assembly. They formed a new party called "Minju-Kookmin Dang" or "Minkuk Dang." The Minkuk-Dang then became the controlling force in the National Assembly. As a consequence, the party decided to challenge the authority of Rhee Seungman.

The first attempt to challenge Rhee's power was to attempt to revise the constitution to a parliamentary system where the national assembly has all the powers. Yes, it was a very serious crisis to Rhee Seungman. However, Lee Bum-Suk, Rhee's prime minister, had enough organizational skill on non-Minkuk members of the Assembly to deafeat the motion.

Rhee had to face another serious challenge in 1952 from the Minkuk-Dang in 1952, which I will talk about in my later articles. However, the most serious threat to him came from the underground communist party. Rhee had to hire a very skilful police person named "Roh Duk-Sool." Roh had worked for Japanese police and was in charge of arresting Korean communists. During Rhee's hunt for communists, there was a young army officer named "Kim Chang-Yong," who later became Rhee's most trusted man in Korea.

Kim was a "Kenpei Kojo" (sergeant in Japanese military police) in charge of arresting Korean communists in Manchu. After the Japanese surrender, he went back to his hometown Hamheung. There, he was arrested by the Soviet army. Kim killed the Soviet officer during the interrogation by hitting him with a chair, and ran way to the South to joined the Korean army.

Both Roh Duk-Sool and Kim Chang-Young were ruthless in dealing with communist suspects and were hated by Koreans. Because of them, Rhee still carries a burden of being called pro-Japanese. Indeed, the communists, though underground, played a major role in the early days of Korean politics. Do you like to hear more about the Korean communists?

Russian View of the Division of Korea

Y.S.Kim (2003.3.25)

Whenever I meet Russians, they ask me whether I came from North Korea and South Korea. I tell them Korea used to be one country and I still hold this view. I become upset because I know so well how Korea was divided and because I know how much Koreans suffered. The division started from the Roosevelt-Stalin meeting held in Yalta in February of 1945. I have a photo of this meeting on one of my webpages. You are invited to visit my "style" page given above and click on "Korean background." On this page, click on "Korea's recent history."

Last week, one innocent-looking Russian student asked me the same question. Instead of getting upset, I asked him whether he knows how Korea was divided into two. I was curious about the Russian view of the Korean situation. He said Korea used to be one country, but Americans, using the instrument of the United Nations, set up a colony in the South. When Koreans resisted this U.S.imperialism, Americans sent a large number of troops to suppress the uprising. He said further that Americans are doing the same thing in Palestine and Iraq.

I just listened and did not respond to what he said. I simply told him I have many photos with nice-looking Russian ladies and gave him my web address. He promised to look at them. What he said about Korea is certainly wrong and is quite different from what I said in my earlier articles. On the other hand, it is quite possible to make an "analytic continuation" what is happening in Korea these days from what the story this Russian boy told me. The word "analytic continuation" is a mathematical jargon which could imply many steps of continuous logic.

During the harsh Japanese rule which lasted from 1910 to 1945, it was quite natural for Koreans to develop anti-colonialism. However, it is not a trivial matter to transform this ideology into a political power. The person who was brilliant enough to do this was Park Hun-Young. He was able to construct a nationwide underground "cell" organizations while Japan's fortune was declining during World War II. Unfortunately, he was deep believer of Marxism. I talked about him in my earlier articles.

When Americans came to Korea in October of 1945, their purpose was simply to accept the surrender of the Japanese army and nothing else. The first political doctrine came from the agreement Americans had with Stalin at the Moscow tri-party agreement. The agreement, in spite of all good words, said that Stalin was going to eat up the entire Korean peninsula within five years. The commander of U.S. forces in Korea was rigorously enforcing this formula drafted by Stalin.

Park Hun-Young was of course one of the first ones to know this and attempted to become the ruler of Korea by pleasing Stalin. In January of 1946, Park told a reporter from the New York Times named John Stone that Korea should become one of the republics of the Soviet Union, like Estonia, Kazakhstan, or Armenia. Indeed, he was recommended by Molotov, Stalin's foreign minister, to be the ruler of Korea, but Stalin rejected Park on the grounds that Park was basically a nationalist and was basically inconsistent with the Soviet imperialism. Stalin, instead, accepted Beria's (KGB chief) recommendation. Beria recommended Kim Il-Sung.

Park Hun-Young was not the only one who attempted to transform Korea's anti-colonialism into a political power. In order to strengthen themselves, a number of the national assembly men in 1948 drafted and passed a legislature to punish those who worked with Japanese against Koreans and Korean interests. The national assembly also created an armed agency to arrest and punish those pro-Japanese traitors.

Among the prominent pro-Japanese traitors were Park Heung-Shik, Lee Kwang-Soo, and Roh Duk-Sool. Park was Korea's first modern business man and set up a department store called "Hwa-Shin" at the entrance of Chong-Ro. He was so rich that Japanese authorities asked him to contribute enough money for an airplane for their war efforts, and he did. Many people say he was a patriot because his eight-story Hwa-Shin building was taller than the Mitsukoshi building. As some of you know, Seoul's Choong-Mu-Ro was developed as a Japanese town, and they had set up a branch of their Tokyo-based department store at the entrance of Choong-Mu-Ro. This Mitsukohi building had only four floors. Park Heung-Shik was interested in setting up a building taller than Mistsukoshi. Park was arrested and tried by the anti-traitor agency set up by the national assembly.

Lee Kwang-Soo's historic contribution to Korean literature is well recognized and appreciated However, under Japanese pressure, he urged Korean young men to join the Japanese army. He later argued that this was the only way Koreans can have military training. He was also interrogated by the anti-traitor agency.

I mentioned Roh Duk-Sool in previous article. He was a high-raking officer in Japanese police in charge of prosecuting Korean working for independence. After 1948, he became Rhee Seung-Man's core man in arresting Korean communists. The anti-traitor agency, supported by the national assembly, arrested Roh also. Rhee pleaded to the concerned assembly men for the release of Roh, but they refused. Rhee became angry and used his national police to disarm the anti-traitor agency.

Why was Roh so important to Rhee Seungman? Like all politicians, Rhee was always conscious of political forces challenging his position. Rhee did not take the national assembly seriously, even though the assembly's full time job was to take away his power. To him, the most serious threat came from Korean communists. He was right. Until June of 1947, before the United States started formulating is policy toward Korea based on the United Nations, the communist party (known as Nam-Ro-Dang) became a formidable political entity in Korea. As the U.N. formula was becoming more concrete, Rhee became the de-factor ruler of Korea and became in control of the Korean police.

In order to be the ruler of Korea, Rhee knew that he had to destroy Nan-Ro-Dang's cell organization. Rhee then started arresting those Korean communists, but the communists did not give up. They kept growing and staged underground terrorist activities toward the end of 1949. It was a difficult job because the communist organization built upon Korea's anti-colonialism and nationalism. I will talk about some of the communist activities in the forthcoming articles.

Let us go back to the Russian version of Korea's recent history. Korea was originally a communist country, but an American agent named Rhee Seungman came to Korea to suppress Koreans. When Rhee could not perform his mission, Americans came sent a large number of troops.

Victims of Colonialism

Y.S.Kim (2003.3.29)

As I said before, Koreans became anti-colonial during the Japanese occupation, and politicians attempted to transform this sentiment into political power. Did Americans reduce this anti-colonialism after they came to Korea in 1945. The answer definitely is No. Did it become stronger or weaker? Definitely not weaker. Then is it Americans' fault or our own fault? My answer: OUR OWN FAULT.

Yes, Japanese were quite brutal to Koreans before 1945. Then is it enough to hate them? No! I have been saying that we should get ahead of Japan, but nobody takes me seriously on this matter. As for Americans, they are not capable of taking into nationalism of other people, as demonstrated in current military setbacks in Iraq. They thought Iraqis would welcome American soldiers with bouquets of flowers. They have been like this in Korea. Then, is it enough to hate Americans? I have been telling and I would like to tell again today that the United States is an open society. Koreans have ample opportunity to come to the U.S. and compete with the people of the world. The response from younger Koreans is that I talk like a prophet while I am not paying them to do it.

Thus, Koreans continue strengthening their anti-colonialism. Yet, among Koreans, the only way to make advancement is to have photos with famous Americans. This contradiction leads to a complete lack of trust among Koreans. We do not have to be in this way. We are more than able to solve this problem but are not willing to. Let me stop here, and I would like to invite you to read an interesting letter from one of the readers of my mails.

Lessons from the Israeli-Palestine Conflict

Y.S.Kim (2002.6.29)

Yesterday, I went to Princeton to attend a small meeting of some "distinguished" Americans. I was surprised to see that so many of them had detailed knowledge of Korea, and one of them had a Korean daughter-in-law. He showed me photographs of his half-Korean grand children. I told them Koreans are great people but Korea has the worst government in the world. Then a lady from Israel (about age 30) disagreed with me. She thinks Israel, her own country, has the worst government in the world. She was referring to her government's inability to solve the terrorist problem.

I then said there is a sharp ethnic difference between Israelis and Palestinian, and I told a story I read from one of Harvard magazines about ten years ago. I said first the story must be true because it was written by a Harvard researcher on the Arab-Israel problems. The story goes like this.

At one of the restaurants in Jerusalem, waiters and waitresses from both Israeli and Palestine territories work together harmoniously during their business hours. After the restaurant closed at 10.00 PM, those waiters and waitresses sit down and eat their supper. However, they sit down at different tables. Then they go home, and the number of people remaining becomes smaller. Eventually, two Jewish people and three Arabs. Among the two Jews, one of them was a man and the other was a woman, and they decided to do what people normally do not do while being watched by others. The presence of their Arab colleagues was totally irrelevant to them.

I then said this kind of separation between the people cannot be cured by the best or worst government. The Israeli lady vehemently denied my story even though I said it came from a Harvard magazine. She said things are bad, but not that bad. I do not know whether the story is true, but I know there is a country where it is true. You should know which country I am talking about. You will recall that I mentioned earlier a young Korean physicist whom I did not meet while attending a conference held in Minsk last month.

For a given Korean participant at a scientific meeting, the presence of other Koreans is totally irrelevant. This is a well-established culture among Korean scientists, and I mentioned this many times before. There are many other examples I can mention. About five years ago, I made a long-distance call to a Korean visitor to ask about the situation in Korea because he said he knew many high-ranking people.

The conversation was not smooth but not hostile. He then suddenly hung up the phone while he was talking. Several months later, he called me because he had some urgent personal request from me. I then asked why he hung up the phone in our previous phone conversation. His reply was that his American colleague came to his office and he had to talk to him. I then asked him why he did not tell me before hanging up the phone. He said he did not feel it necessary because I am a Korean and he was an American. I then hung up my phone. Most of the Korean students in the United States tell me they do not wish to talk to me because I am not famous enough. They even tell me I am so foolish not to understand them. Do they know how to speak English to talk to those famous Americans?

The day before yesterday, a Korean physicist came to my office and asked me why I am talking about "life-time president" so often these day. He was of course referring to my earlier claims that I am the "life-time" president of the Korean physical society. He was interested in knowing on what basis I have been and still am making the claim. Of course, I know how to maintain my communication system, and I have a strong memory power to remember the names of my younger colleagues. But the decisive factor is Koreans' lack of respect for fellow Koreans. Koreans listen to me not because I am a Korean, but because I have many American and European connections. Indeed, I constantly curse those Koreans who attempt to use their foreign influence to dictate other Koreans, but I am one of those whom I curse. In other words, the Korean scientific community, if it exists at all, it is a very very sick society in which Koreans cannot live with fellow Koreans.

Another article of current interest

Americans in Paris

Y.S.Kim (2002.7.26),
written before Americans invented "Freedom Fries."

When I go to Europe, they think I came from Japan, but they realize that I came from the United States from the way I speak English. In either case, I take the American side whenever Euro-American issues come up. I also become embarrassed when Americans are only 99% bright.

I was in Paris on July 14 and watched on TV the annual French military parade. I saw this event several time before including one real thing on the street. People say this is a kind of fashion show, and it is at least partially correct. The parade consists not only of French soldiers but also many civil service workers such as policemen, firefighters, nurses, and others. The parade is important enough to be headed by the president of France.

This year, two American units were invited to join the parade. One of them was a company of Westpoint cadets in their uniforms. I do not know why they were invited, but French people always have in mind that they helped Americans in their independence war. The other American unit consists of four fire engines from New York City. They were invited for their heroic role in the rescue efforts after the 9.11 event in 2001.

As you know, I am not an American citizen, but I raise an American flag outside my house on July 4 every year to celebrate the Independence Day with Americans. You do not have to be a pro-American traitor to do this. This is a matter of etiquette.

Let us go back to the Americans in Paris, the flag carriers headed the Westpoint unit in the parade. There were eight flags. One was an American flag, but I cannot recognize any of the seven flags. I was eager to find the tri-color French flag, but could not find it. How about those fire engines. Each fire truck was carrying two flags in its front. I was able recognize both of them, and they were both American flags. I and my American friends were awfully embarrassed. Those Americans should know how important the July 4th is to them. Then they should also know how important the July 14 is to French men and women who invited to come.

One Frenchmen said they were not bothered because they are so used to the the way Americans behave in their country, but they were angry in their hearts. Americans need cooperation from Europeans in their war against terrorists. Those American units certainly did not want to offend French people, but their problem is that they are only 99% bright in dealing with foreigners. France has been and will be a very important "foreign" country to Americans. Indeed, during the past 50 years Americans have been debating about how to conduct their foreign policy, but the effect of their isolationism (inherited from George Washington) still remains strong.

Before talking about what is wrong with Americans, let us look at us. In terms of isolationism, Koreans are much worse than Americans. Korea has been under the American influence since 1945, but Korean students in the U.S. still refuse to learn English. Most Koreans in the U.S. do not know they are in the United States. Much much worse than Americans in Paris!

To make things worse, some Koreans in Korea do not know they are in Korea. For instance, when an international conference held in Korea, Korean organizers ask their foreign colleagues to write and sign invitation letters. It is thus uncommon for foreign scholars to get invitation from non-Koreans for the conference to be held in Korea. Those Koreans are totally lost in the world.

Communists go Underground.

Y.S.Kim (2003.3.31)

In May of 1947, the United States and the Soviet Union held the second meeting of to st up the trustee (Shintak) administration of Korea. The meeting was held in Seoul, but it was doomed to failure from the beginning. The Soviet Union had already completed a Soviet-style government in Pyongyang, and the United States had formulated a plan to submit the Korean problem to the United Nations.

The UN plan was a realization of Rhee Seungman's life-time dream. As early as 1910, he became convinced that Korea's independence could be only be achieved through an international organization. In 1933, he went to Geneva to present the Korean case to the League of Nations. As I said many times before, nobody paid any attention to him except a lady from Austria who was making a trip to Paris to Vienna. She was taking a rest in Geneva and met Rhee at a restaurant.

As the the joint commission meeting (we call Miso-Gongdong Weewon Hoe) failed, in May of 1947, Rhee became the effective ruler of Korea. He had a full control of police. Promotions and new hirings in the American military government were placed under Rhee's control. The head of the military government, Lt.Gen. John R. Hodge, became fed up with running the country, and told his subordinates to go to "Sigie Rhee" whenever difficult problems were presented to him.

Rhee's first task was to close down the offices of the communist party. At that time, the big four-story building (high-rise building at that time) at the south-west corner of the Namedae-Moon square was the headquarters of the Korean communist party. There was also an office in Chungmu-ro for an international communist organization called "World Peace Conference." Both places were shut down by Korean police by October of 1947.

However, it was not possible to eliminate the communist organization simply by shutting down their offices. The communists continued to thrive with their underground organizations. Rhee's plan was to clean up the communists before the UN-sponsored election scheduled for May 10 (1948), but the communists were determined to sabotage this election. The only method available to them was terror! They staged armed attacks on police stations and assassination of local officials. In the Cheju Island, there was a large-scale revolt which led to the massacre known as the 4.3 incident. As a consequence, the Cheju Island was not able to participate in the historic 5.10 election.

However, the communists lost the ground in the 5.10 election because Koreans did not like terrorism staged by the communists. Indeed, the 5.10 election was a clean election and drew high praise from the international community. Since then, Korean politicians betrayed their own people. In one of my earlier articles, I summarized this situation by saying Korea has the worst government in the world.

Did the communists give up their attempts to destroy a newly formed republic? While Rhee was brutally suppressing them, many Korean communists took refugee in the government organizations. The highest-ranking communist in the Korean government was Kim Yak-Soo who was one of the vice-chairs of the national assembly. I talked about him before. Many communists joined the Korean army and navy in order to shield themselves against police investigations.

How about the terrorist activities. They continued. Their aim was to let Americans leave Korea. There were many communists among the railroad workers. They once engineered derailment of a train carrying American troops. Horace Underwood was the first Presbyterian missionary. His son, Underwood II, devoted his life to the development of Yonsei University. In 1949, his wife was assassinated by a communist while she was attending a party hosted by Lady Moh Yoon-Sook. Because of the shock, Dr. Underwood became disillusioned and died in 1951.

While Rhee Seungman was the key person from the Korean side for the Korean-American relation, the Underwood family was the key family from the American side. This is the reason why Mrs. Underwood became the target of the communist terror. My family was somewhat close to the Underwoods. This is the reason why I was called a pro-Americanist by my friends. I also use this connection in the United States to promote myself among Americans.

The Korean navy had about thirty ships. They included ten US-built mine sweepers, two cargo ships, and a number of Japanese-built patrol boats. Three of those ships were hijacked by communists and were forced to the North. This tells the extent of communist infiltration in the Korean armed forces. How about in the communists in the Korean army? I will talk about this next time.

Dr. Lee Seung-Gi

Y.S.Kim (2003.4.15)

Last time, I promised to talk about the extent of communist infiltration in Korea's armed forces in 1948, but the file is already too long with four job ads. Instead, I will write a short story about the communist influence among Korean intellectuals. I already talked about many of them in my earlier articles. You are invited to read my web book consisting of my earlier articles.

Tonight, I will talk about one of the prominent Korean scientists. Dr. Lee Seung-Ki was the dean of SNU's Engineering College in 1950, and went to the North when N.K.troops withdrew from Seoul. Many people say that he was forced to go, and many others say that he had a communist leaning. In my opinion, Dr. Lee was not a dedicated communist, but he did not like Americans. Let us study his case.

During World War II, Americans could not import high-quality silk products from Japan, while American ladies needed silk stockings. They thus had to develop artificial fibre called nylon. As you know, nylon fibres are extracted from petroleum.

Dr. Lee Seung-Gi studied and initiated his research program in Japan. He was interested in developing artificial fibres. Unlike Americans, he was interested extracting fibres from coals (Korea does not have oil wells). For Korean farmers (80 percent of Korean population at that time), he was wanted to develope cotton-like (not silk-like) fibres. Japanese authorities encouraged Dr. Lee because they were interested in making army uniforms from Dr. Lee's fibres.

After 1945, Dr. Lee looked into possibilities to continue his research within the American framework, but he was contemptuously rebuffed by Americans several times. While Seoul was under communist occupation in 1950, he was invited by Kim Il-Sung to go to Heung-Nam and continue his research. He went there. I have a photo of Dr. Lee with Kim Il-Sung holding a bundle of Dr. Lee's fibre.

However, North Korea is one of the most isolated places in the world. Neither Dr. Lee nor North Korean authorities could capitalize his invention. Many Koreans do research on Korean In-Sam within the American research framework. It is worth for young Korean scientists to look into what Dr. Lee was doing.

Dr. Lee is not the isolated case for Korean scientists. It is very easy to get turned off by Americans. I talked about my own case before, but I will talk about it again. In 1965, I showed that one of the Princeton men made an idiotic mistake. His name was Roger Dashen. He was of about my age, and he died in 1995. But, the prevailing view in the U.S. physics community was and still is that Dashen is a genius but I am only a Korean. Since this is till the issue, I have a webpage entitled "Dashen-Frautschi Fiasco" within my Princeton website. You are of course invited to visit this page to see what the issue is really about.

You can now see what kind of treatment I received from Americans, and how long (since 1965). I had every reason to be anti-American and anti- Princeton, but I resisted with every piece of Korean wisdom available to me. These days, when I meet Princeton men/women, they ask me whether I saw a Princeton page containing Einstein and Brooke Shields. I then ask them whether they know whose website they are talking about. We then laugh.

Let us go back to Dr. Lee Seung-Gi. He had two options. One was to be pampered by Kim Il-Sung, and the other was to be despised by Americans. He made the wrong choice.

Korean Lady Physicists

I become very happy when Koreans, particularly Korean ladies, produce original ideas and push their programs. After this announcement, I have attached an article which I wrote in 1995. It is a lady talk! It must be interesting to you. YSK (2003.4.20)


November 13 16, 2003,
Paichai University, Daejeon, Korea,

On behalf of the organizing committee, it is a great pleasure to invite you to International Women’s Conference on BIEN-Technology, which will be held in Daejeon, Korea, from November 13 to 16, 2003.

This conference is the world’s first attempt to provide female scientists with opportunities to exchange their multidisciplinary expertise and researches, enhance the human networking and create a synergy effect by converging a variety of technologies: Bio, Information, Environment and Nano. In addition, at the conference, we hope to attract potential female scientists of the future by hosting valuable lectures of the world-renowned women scientists.

Daejeon is the scientific and technological center of Korea where numerous research institutes, universities and relevant industries are located. Historically, it was the heart of the “Baekje” kingdom, which had great cultural influence on Japanese culture around the 3rd century A.D. This conference will provide you with another unique chance to see the scientific achievements of Korea and its precious and diverse cultural heritages.

I sincerely look forward to your participation in International Women’s Conference on BIEN-Technology, as your energy and talent will contribute greatly to the success of the conference.

Sincerely yours,

Kwang Hwa Chung
Chair of the organizing committee
President of the Association of Korean Woman Scientists and Engineers

Conference Date: November 13(Thursday) ~16(Sunday), 2003

Conference Language: English

About Daejeon
Daejeon, home to Daedeok Valley, is the second most important center for national administration city in Korea. It is filled with historical and cultural heritage sites. Specially, Daedeok Science Town leads the nation’s science and technology through the vigorous promotion of efficient research and development of advanced science and technology. Relevant research institutes are concentrated in Daedeok Science Town for a joint research mechanism with the universities and industries nearby. This system allows research facilities, an educated workforce, and technology to function cooperatively and foster joint research.

Tentative Scientific Programs
Main Theme “Converging Technology of BT, IT, ET, and NT”
- Lectures
- Workshops
- Booth Exhibition
- Oral and Poster Presentation
Social Programs
- Welcome Reception
- Conference Banquet
- Technical Tour
- Accompanying Person’s Tour
- Optional Tour Programs

Call for Digest Paper
Digest Papers should be submitted to International Women’s Conference on BIEN-Technology website no later than August 31, 2003. Conference Committees
Kwang Hwa Chung

Organizing Committee
Myung Hee Jung / Chun Hee Lee / Hyang Sook Yoo
Myung Sun Cho / Mi Ja Lee

Scientific Committee
Soon Hee Park/Haryoung Poo
Eun Ok Baik/Hyun Sook Cho/Myoung Hee Kim
Soon Ae Yoo/Hi Il Yi/Hae-Kyung Lee
Kyung Hwa Yu/Hyo Suk Lee/Eun Kyoung Kim Special Committee Hae Suk Lee

Publicity Committee: Mun Ja Kang, Yoosook Kim

Secretary: Yong Hyeon Shin, Eun Jung Sung

Organized by The Association of Korean Woman Scientists and Engineers Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science 1 Doryong-Dong, Yuseong-Gu, Daejeon, 305-340, Korea Tel : 82-42-868-5120 Fax : 82-42-868-5285 Email : kwse@kriss.re.kr

Supported by
Ministry of Science and Technology, Republic of Korea
Ministry of Information and Communication, Republic of Korea
Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy
Ministry of Environment
Ministry of Health and Welfare
Ministry of Gender Equality, Republic of Korea

Sponsored by
Korea Science and Engineering Foundation
Korea Industrial Technology Foundation
Paichai University
Kyobo Securities Co., Ltd.

Secretariat Judy & Communications Co., Ltd.
#1528 LG Palace, 165-8, Dongkyo-Dong, Mapo-Gu
Seoul, 121-200 Korea
Tel : 82-2-3142-1033/4 Fax : 82-2-336-1086
E-mail : judy@2003bien.org

If you are interested in participation, please return this sheet to the secretariat by fax (82-2-336-1086).

Title ( )Prof. ( )Dr. ( )Mr. ( )Ms.
Last Name First Name
Department Organization
Address Postal Code Country
Phone Fax E-mail

( ) I intend to participate in this conference
( ) I intend to submit a paper
Tentative topic for presentation:

For further information, please feel free to contact the Secretariat.


Note from YSK: I am very happy to attach the following article which I wrote in 1995. I talk very positively about Korean lady scientists.

Korean Lady Physicists

Y.S.Kim (1995.9.7)

I spent three days last week at Evanston (near Chicago) for physics business, and I was fortunate enough to meet several Korean students studying at Northwestern University. One of them gave me as a gift a large coffee cup carrying the emblem of NWU. It is my great pleasure to thank him publicly for his kindness. If you come to my office, I will proudly show you the NWU cup.

On my desk, there is a gift I received from another Northwestern man, and it is a pocket-size copy of the Bible he used to carry until 1961. He went to Northwestern University in 1930 and worked day and night to complete his PhD degree in 1933. He came back to Korea to join the faculty of Severance Union Medical College, and devoted his entire life to Korea's medical education until he died in 1982. I knew him very well because he was my uncle.

Perhaps I can introduce him to you in this way. Yonsei University was called Yonhee until 1958. My uncle started the movement to combine Yonhee and Severance into a single university system as soon as he returned to Korea from Evanston in 1933, but his idea was stone-walled by Japanese authorities. The name change from Yonhee to Yonsei was by no means a trivial task, and my uncle was definitely the prime mover.

Like most of the educators of his age, he was thoroughly male chauvinistic. To make things worse, he used to use very crude words such as "yo-nyun" to young ladies, and the female students of Yonsei or Severance used to stay away from him as much as possible. Yet, my uncle was responsible for another name change. Until 1960, Korean nurses were called KAN-HO-BOO, but they are now called KAN-HO-SA. BOO means a woman (without skill), SA means a college graduate, and there is a big difference.

In 1952, my uncle initiated the "motion" to create a system of nursing college. This was a totally crazy and unacceptable idea at that time, but he was able to install the College of Nursing in the Severance College/Hospital complex simply because he had a dictatorial power there. Now the College of Nursing is a highly respected college at Yonsei University.

You would agree that the transition from BOO to SA was an important step in improving women's right, and nurses in modern hospitals definitely deserve the SA status. One year ago, I watched a Japanese TV program dealing with working conditions for nurses in Japan, and I talked with one of my Japanese friends today about Japanese nurses. They still receive a two-year vocational training (without college degree), and they are still called KAN-GO-FU (KAN-HOO-BOO in Korea). My uncle, a Northwestern man, did his job right in our getting ahead of Japan.

Let us now look at Korean women in physics. Compared with Japan, we have many excellent US-educated lady physicists, and they are doing very well. Prof. Yoon Jinhee (from Purdue) recently joined the faculty of Inha Univ. Prof. Chang Sookyung is one of the most active faculty members at Yonsei. Prof. Won Hekyung of Hallym Univ. is making frequent trips to Japan for research cooperation with Japanese physicists. Prof. Kim Jae-Eun is one of the senior faculty members at KAIST, together with Prof. Park Hae Yong who is her husband. Last year, they sent me a picture book of Kokuryo remains, and I am very happy to say that they are extremely nice people as well as diligent workers.

Yet, it is true that male chauvinism is still very strong in Korea and this scares our young lady physicists. My advice to them is very simple. Korean women are now strong enough to solve their own problems. They do not have to rely on male chauvinistic monsters like my uncle (or even myself; I used to scare girls) to solve the problems for them. Lady Park Soon-Cheon was Korea's first congresswoman, and she pushed through the legislative procedure to add the double-penalty provision to our old criminal code (whose first edition was written by Itoh Hiro-umi - Yideung Bak-moon - the most hated person in Korea). The double penalty means that both man and woman (not woman alone) should receive punishment for adultery.

Two hundred years ago, Korean women were even stronger. The book entitled "Chun-Ju Sil-Eui" was written in Chinese by an Italian priest named Mateo Ricci. As you know, Koreans made the first contact with Western ideology through this book, and the book was thoroughly forbidden until 1864. It was Lady Kwon Yuhandang who translated this book into Un-moon during the Chung-Jo period (toward the end of the 18th century). Her father-in-law was the highest government security officer in charge of arresting and executing Christians. I have a suspicion that he knew what his daughter- in-law was doing and gave her the protection she needed. In either case, you would agree that Lady Kwon was a very courageous woman, perhaps as courageous as Maria Sklawdowska Curie of Poland.

I will be in Poland next week. In spite of my keen interest in Poland, it will be my first visit there, and I am looking forward to learning more about that country. Not many of you know that Poland had been divided into three different colonies for 125 years until 1919 when it became a unified country again according to Wilson's declaration of the Fourteen Points. I became interested in Poland after reading a short story by Marek Flako (Polish writer) published in the Sasang-ge magazine in 1958. Flasko was stylishly indicting the communist regime in Poland, but his story tells also that dictators, whether they are communist or capitalist, are all bad. This article was quite acceptable to the Korean censorship at that time because it was thought to be an anti-communistic article. Korean authorities were not smart enough to know that it was hostile also to them.

Politics is not my business, but I used Flasko's skill to print some of my articles in the Physical Review D in the 1970s containing the claims which are very offensive to the particle physics establishment. These days, my main business is to explain what I really wanted to say in those articles. Many of you have seen squeezed-state posters containing a circle-and-ellipse logo. This logo is from one of those papers. I made my trip to Evanston last week because Prof. Horace Yuen of NWU wanted to understand my 1970s articles written in Flasko's (Polish) style.

Note added in April (2003). In 1995, Japanese nurses were called "KAN-GO-FU" (Kan-Ho-Bu). Yesterday, I heard a Japanese reporter talking about a medical team Japanese are going to send to Iraq on my short wave radio. He was saying "KAN-GO-SHI" meaning Kan-Ho-Sa in Korean. This means that the word for Japanese nurses became changed during the past eight-year period. Here, Koreans are definitely ahead of Japan. Koreans laugh whenever I say we should get ahead of Japan, but it is quite possible that you are ahead of Japan in your own field. Japan does not have a network system like ours.

Origin of the Korean Army

Y.S.Kim (2003.4.27)

In February of 1919, inspired by Woodrow Wilson's doctrine of self determination of nations, Koreans in Tokyo got together and declared the independence of Korea from Japan. They composed an independence anthem. It was a very stirring music. The song said "Hold rifles and rise!" However, the reality was that Koreans had no rifles, nor did they know how to operate them.

Lee Kwang Soo was a student and was one of the younger Koreans. He was known for his exceptional talent in writing. It is quite possible that he wrote the verse saying "Hold rifles and rise!" Lee then went to Shanghai to join the provisional government. Koreans then heard about the big military victory scored by Korean troops led by General Kim Jwa-Jin at the village of Chung-San-Ri. Lee Kwang-Soo was sent by the provisional government to Chung-San-Ri to write a story about the miracle-making Korean troops. When Lee arrived there, he saw the the village was completely burnt down by Japanese. He was not able to see any trace of Koreans.

It is true that about 150 Korean troops defeated a Japanese battalion at Chung-San-Ri, but Japanese later brought in one combat regiment to completely wipe out Koreans there and burnt down every house. After seeing the scene, Lee became convinced that the only way Koreans to gain military know-how is to learn from Japanese by joining Japanese army. He made a statement encouraging Korean young men to join the Japanese army. After 1945, he was asked by Koreans to make an apology for his statement but he refused. This is the reason Lee Kwang-Soo is constantly called a pro-Japanese traitor.

I am afraid that Lee Kwang-Soo was right. Of course, in order to construct a country, one needs patriotism, but it is not enough. You need, among others, a stable economy and armed forces strong enough to defend the country. You need professionalism to get these things.

Yes, many Koreans joined the Japanese army, not necessarily at the encouragement of Lee Kwang-Soo, but because the military life appeared glamorous to them. Toward the end of World War II, Japanese authorities drafted a large number of Korean boys to their army. They were forced to join the Japanese army.

Here is What I witnessed. As I told you many times before, I was born and raised in a farming/fishing village called Sorae. I also said this Sorae village had an American connection. For this reason, Japanese military planners thought Sorae could be one of the places where American troops would land. Toward the end of 1944, Japanese started building bunkers and gun positions along the beach. To make thing worse, Americans sent spy planes and submarines to the area, and I saw them with my own eyes. The submarine periscopes were always visible. Those subs sometimes surfaced and the American crews used to give Korean fishermen chocolate candies which were called "Miguk Yut."

In May of 1945, after Okinawa fell to Americans, one of the ships originally destined to Okinawa came to the Sorae beach. The ship was carrying one truncated battalion (consisting of two companies) of Japanese combat troops. Nowhere to stay, those troops stayed in the Sorae Church. Those troops were training themselves how to throw grenades to American tanks. In 1943-35, I used to like soldiers, and I often visited those Japanese soldiers. They used to ask me to mail their letters at the post office.

Here is the story you cannot believe. There were many Koreans among the Japanese troops. One of them told me that they were ready to shoot and kill Japanese once American troops step on the beach, and that they expect cooperations from Koreans. I was of course scared, but was "patriotic" enough to tell the story to the village elders.

Toward the end of World War II, the Japanese government was prepared to make a surrender arrangement with the United States, with two conditions. The first condition was to leave the imperial family intact. The second condition was that the Korean peninsular be left under the Japanese rule. If the second condition had been accepted, I would say that Koreans had enough military resources to kick out Japanese from the Korean territory.

I one told this story to a young Korean student in the United States. Of course, I sounded very stupid to him, and he told me so. His reasoning was that I am totally ignorant about military affairs because army need an organization and commanding structure. He was asserting that I was totally ignorant about those aspects. You guessed right. He was an SNU graduate. In any case, I will talk about how the Korean army leadership was established next time. You will see how ignorant I am.

While it is extremely difficult to find Koreans with whom I can communicate, I am doing well with European ladies. Last year, I talked about an Italian lady in Milan. I met her in Boston in 1987 whileshe was attending Harvard University. She wrote several books and is now an established journalist in Milan. She maintains her own website called "Jesus Christ Cyberstar" (in Italian). Last week, she sent me her photo with her son named Leonardo. I have many lady photos on my website. I should say she is the best-looking lady among them (my wife agrees with me), and I am very happy to introduce her to you. Go to my style page, and click on ladies. Her photo, entitled "living madonna," is at the end of the second group of ladies. The first group consists of Russian ladies.

Trotsky's Army

Y.S.Kim (2003.4.30)

To us, Leon Trotsky is known as one of the communist devils along with Stalin and Beria, but he is widely admired by university presidents around the world for his organizational talent. He was Vladimir Lenin's organization man. He was the brain behind the October Revolution, and organized the Bolshevik party which later became the Soviet Communist Party. He was also responsible for the organization of the Soviet Army. After Lenin's death in 1924, he was hated by Stalin and was exiled to Kazkhstan in 1928. He was assassinated in 1940 while hiding in Mexico City by a Spanish communist named Ramon Mercarder who was presumably an agent directly sent by Stalin.

What does he have to do with the Korean army? In my previous article, I mentioned there were disloyal elements even in highly disciplined Japanese army. During the early years of the Russian revolution, there were bitter fights among the different political groups, including the forces loyal to the Czar. Thus, in one group, it was very difficult to tell whether the soldiers are really loyal to the leader of the group.

In order to solve this problem, Trotsky invented a double-pronged approach to the army organization. For each unit, the commander is the head of military organization, while the vice-commander is the head of political organization. Thus, each army unit acts ike a military unit as well as a political unit. The North Korean army was and is still operating organized in this way.

How about in the South? The army organization was initiated by Americans. As you know, political activities and indoctrinations are strictly forbidden in the American military system. I know one senior member of the Korean army who used to preach anti-communism while he was an instructor at at a school which later became the Korea Military Academy. He was reprimanded by his American boss for doing political activities in the army.

Thus, the Korean army was an ideal haven for Korean communists chased by the Korean National Police after Rhee Seungman ordered a whole-sale arrest of communists at the end of 1947.

Do you like to know who was the senior officer who was reprimanded by his American boss for preaching anti-communism? He was Chang Do-Young who was the army chief during Park Chung-Hee's 5.16. How do I know him? I usually know Korea's upper-level people through their daughters. But General Chang was and still is too young to have daughters of my age. His wife was and still is then elder sister of my high-school classmate. She was very kind and was like my own sister. She studied in the United States while Gen. Chang was very busy in the battlefield. Because she spoke fluent English and was able to exchange jokes with Americans, Gen. Chang was well-liked by American army officers in Korea. These days, the Changs enjoy their retirement life in Florida.

In 1950, Col. Chang was the chief intelligence officer of the Korean army. He was young and looked like a college student at that time. His team went to the Dong-Doo-chun front (north of Seoul) at the 38th parallel three weeks before the 6.25 day to inspect the situation there. I accompanied his team, but my trip was arranged through an entirely different connection. I had a very complex connection with Korea's armed forces.

Wilson and Poincare

Y.S.Kim (2003.5.2)

Later today, I will have to fly to Europe. My plan is to spend the weekend in Geneva in preparation for some tough business. As I said before, I will be staying at a Geneva hotel called "President Wilson." This hotel is named after Woodrow Wilson who was the president the United States from 1913 to 1920. After World War I, he had some ideas for world peace. Among his ideas, the League of Nations is still working in a different form and with a different trademark called the United Nations.

His idea of self-determination of nations became the principle of "winners take all." This issue is still confusing the world. Korea is still struggling with the unification problem, which is essentially an independence issue. Some people praise Wilson and some people curse him. I used to admire him when I was in Korea. I used to curse him after seeing Princeton's attitude toward the people on the other side of the Pacific ocean. Now, I seem to have somewhat deeper understanding of what Wilson really wanted.

When he was a professor at Princeton University, he had a student named Rhee Seungman. Wilson knew he came from Korea, but what did he do to hlep Rhee who was so desperate for the independence of his country? What Wilson did to Korea (did not do, more precisely ) was totally contradictory to his own principles.

Then who was responsible to reducing Wilson to the 1/100 of his original size. It was Raymond Poincare, who was the president of France who hosted the Versailles peace conference in 1920. Poincare was the one who completely stripped down Wilson. Poincare totally destroyed Wilson's self-determination and transformed it to "all for France". This is the reason why Koreans did not get any benefit from Wilson's doctrine. Vietnam got the worst deal: thirty years of colonial war.

Raymond Poincare is the hero for French politicians. He was able to strip down the president of the United States, even though the U.S. did the fighting for France to "win" the war. This is the origin of French behavior at the United Nations these days. I have no comments on who is eventually right. My main point is that Raymond Poincare had a cousin much greater than he was. His cousin is regarded by many as the greatest man France ever produced.

His name was Henri Poincare. As you probably know Henri was mathematician, physicist, and everything else. Simply google Poincare. You will see Henri, Henri, Henri. Yes, you can see Raymond if you are patient enough to go through ten google pages. I like Henri very much because the mathematical tools I develop these days are based on his Poincare group. These days, I am developing mathematical tools based on the Poincare group applicable to modern optics and high-tech devices. The purpose of my trip to Europe is to market my research products.

If you have a choice, do you want to become Henri or Raymond? I will continue my Korea talks next time. While in Europe, it is inconvenient for me to send out mass mails. Furthermore, I like to have a break from routines. You also like to get some break from my mails. I will be back on May 8 with many lady photos.

Korean Volunteers in the Japanese Army

Y.S.Kim (2003.5.14)

While Japan was occupying Korea from 1910 to 1945, Japanese soldiers looked very glamorous to Korean boys, and a fair number of them decided to pursue military career. A small number of them were fortunate enough to enter the prestigious Japanese military academy, but most of them joined as ordinary soldiers.

Toward the end of World War II, there were a considerable number of sergeants and non-commissioned officers of the Korean origin in the Japanese army. These Koreans later formed the most valuable element in the initial stages of the Korean army.

In every army, officers are not supposed to show their sleeping faces to soldiers in order to preserve their respectability. Indeed, the office quarters are quite separate from soldiers' barracks in army bases. This means that officers do not understand how soldiers live, while sergeants and non-coms do. Indeed, the Korean army at its initial stage had enough former non-coms from the Japanese army. This is the precisely the reason why the Korean army was able to maintain its fabric during the difficult trying years. It was able to overcome various insurgencies, and the soldiers of the Korean army fought like real soldiers during the initial days of the Korean War. This was the opinion of General Douglas MacArthur.

Among the ex-sergeants in the Japanese army, I can mention two prominent Korean generals. Their names are Song Yo-Chan and Choi Kyung-Rok. General Song Yo-Chan was the army chief of staff during the 4.19 student revolution which caused the first regime change in Korea. General Song served his country well. He was so tough and stubborn that he carried the nickname "Suk-Du" (rock head). Solders in his unit often used Song Suk-Du as the official name because his real name was not known to them. He created many comic stories about himself and the Korean army.

General Choi Kyung-Rok became the army chief after Song resigned. He was also a tough guy. He once said "shut up" to the head of the U.S. military advisory group. I like him very much. I met him several times while he was studying at the Catholic University of America in Washington. The United States used to provide study-research opportunities in the U.S. to Korean ex-army chiefs as retirement benefits.

Choi joined the Japanese army because he really wanted to become a soldier. He joined as a "nito-hei" (lowest rank). He was so polite and intelligent that he became very popular among high-ranking Japanese officers. During the initial stage of the Pacific War, he served as a secretary to the commander of Japanese forces in New Guinea, and stayed there for two years. In 1950, he was the commander of an infantry regiment stationed north of Kaesung at the 38th parallel. During the initial hours of the Korean War, the North Korean troops moved down so fast that they by-passed Choi's regiment. As a consequence, his unit was trapped in the communist region. However, Choi was brave enough to break through the enemy encirclement with his regiment undamaged (I heard this story someone other than Choi)

The last Gamtu he held was the Korean ambassador to Japan. I think he enjoyed his position there because he was able to give "kihap" to Japanese politicians who had served in their army before 1945. After his retirement, he once got into a hot water by saying that Japanese should re-construct their army like the one they had in those years before 1945.

General Choi was genuinely proud of his back ground in the old Japanese army. He told me the solid loyalty of Japanese soldiers does not come from kihap alone. Quite contrary to the impression Koreans have, Japanese soldiers are not treated as slaves. They are well taken care of their officers. He explained to me how much time a Japanese officer had to spend to study the personal history of each soldier under his command.

When I meet a young Korean physicist, I know much better about him/her than he/she knows me. According to General Choi, this comes from the tradition of the old Japanese army. I know many ladies. They all say that I appear to be a highly disciplined man. I knew that this was the influence of the Japanese army.

I can write a book based on what I heard from General Choi, but let me resist. The crucial question is whether Lee Kwang-Soo's urging had any influence on him when he decided to join the Japanese army. Choi said he was not aware of what Lee said. He was influenced most strongly by General Kim Seok-Won who was regarded as the most senior military man in Korea. It will also take a book to talk about Kim, but let me resist. General Kim, in his memoir, praised Choi Kyung-Rok very highly.

Kim also decided to become a soldier one generation before Choi, and entered the Japanese military academy. He had been the hero among young Koreans until his death. He decided to become a soldier because the Japanese officers on tall horses looked so inexpressive to him. In 1960, after the July election, Kim was a national assembly man and Choi was the army chief of staff. Thus, Kim was in a position to give kihap to Choi. In one of the Assembly sessions, Choi had to appear to report the situation in the army. Kim asked Choi whether he knows Korea does not have oil wells. He then said Korean officers should not be allowed to ride military jeeps. Instead they should grow horses and ride them. After the assembly session, Kim was praised by many of his assembly colleagues for making a brilliant statement. Kim then said "I am still the No. 1 man on military affairs." General Choi had a genuine respect for General Kim, and was talking fondly about the last kihap he received from him.

Now, where does Lee Kwang-Soo stand in the Korean army? I cannot think of any where. He make a statement sounding like pro-Japanese, but did not have any influence on Koreans volunteering to join the Japanese army. The most influential person was General Kim Seok-Won.

We should therefore stop punishing Lee Kwang-Soo because nobody volunteered to the Japanese army because of him, and because he was right in saying that the only way for Koreans to get military training was to join the Japanese army.

Why do Koreans keep talking about Lee's betrayal to Koreans so much? It is due to his exceptional talent in writing. Not only he was instrumental in presenting the romance formula for Koreans, but he also set the style of writing our Hangul. Compare the Hangul writings before 1900 (original Bible), and compare the way we write our textbooks and newspaper articles. There is a difference. This difference is due to Lee Kwang-Soo.

Koreans cannot blame him for this contribution. That is the reason why he is being accused of having made his pro-Japanese statement. As Lee said in one of his documents, Koreans always punish their own talented people. This is the reason why Koreans cannot produce world-class persons.

Then, why am I so intensely interested in Lee Kwang-Soo. It is because I have been a target of hatred from my Korean friends and colleagues. Fortunately, they do not know what my real talents are, but they know that I have an organizational talent. That is the reason why I used to be accused of being totally isolated. Then, how can an isolated person manage a communication system which you are using? How can an isolated person know so many ladies around the world? I would like to advise them to find some other reason to accuse me, and I am quite interested in knowing what the new reason will be.

Here is my advice to young people. If you are hated by fellow Koreans, do not blame them. Build your own world outside Korea. In order to distinguish yourself in the world, you will need the wisdom of Korea.

Another Group of Korean Soldiers in the Japanese Army

Y.S.Kim (2003.5.18)

In my previous mail, I described how Korean volunteers to the old Japanese army learned military know how, particularly how to form the society of soldiers and officers. My story was largely based on General Choi Kyung Rok who joined the Japanese army as a lowest-ranking soldier. He climbed up step by step to the office of the army chief of staff of the Korean army.

While he is mighty proud of his background in the Japanese army, he was mentioning a component of the Japanese army which did not meet any level of civilization. He was talking about the Japanese army in Manchu and the Manchurian army. He was also talking about Koreans in Manchu who worked as front-men of the Japanese imperialists. According to him, those Koreans could not meet the conditions for human being.

Let us hear a story of Japanese soldiers in Manchu from someone other than General Choi. Komikawa Junpei was a Japanese writer. In 1957, he wrote a book entitled "Ningen-no Jyoken." Based on this book, a Japanese cinema director named Kobayashi Masaki made a nine-hour movie. I watched this movie in 1970. The Korean translation of the title "ningen-no Jyoken" is "Ingan-ei Jokeon" (Conditions for human being). >From the title alone, you can imagine how savage-like Japanese soldiers were to Chinese.

While the cinema largely deals with atrocities committed by Japanese troops in Manchu, there was a brief section about one Korean shop keeper. In the movie, the Korean man says "I am a Chosenjin despised by both Japanese and Koreans." I did not completely catch what his job was when I was watching the movie, but my later research enables me to pin down what his real business was.

During the military action in China, Japanese imperialists imported raw opium crops from Burma. They then refined them at various places in Korea and Manchu, including a secret factory in Seoul. They then sold refined cocaine and heroine products to Chinese. In Macnhu, most of the narcotic dealers were Koreans. This is the dirtiest job Koreans performed for Japanese during those unfortunate years. Indeed, the Korean character in the "Ningen-no Jyoken" to be despised by both Japanese and Chinese.

To Japanese, dealing with Chinese was worse than dealing with dirty animals. Thus, they asked Koreans to do this unwanted job. Another Japanese instrument to deal with Chinese was the Manchurian arm/y. They set up the Manchu Military Institute in Jang-Choon which was the capital city of Manshu-Koku, and started training Koreans to be the officers of the Manchu army.

This tragic event was the only opportunity for Koreans to learn military science from Japanese. The officers trained in the Manchu Military Institute later formed the core of the Korean army. Those Koreans of course had to learn how to speak Chinese. In October of 1948, there was a major military revolt known as the Yeosu-Soonchon incident. During the military operation against those communist rebels, the Korean commanders spoke Chinese during their telephone conversations in order to prevent wire-tapping by pro-communist elements within the army. This tells the how dominant the Manchu-army element was, and also how extensive communist influence was during the initial years of the Korean army.

Arms for the Korean Army

Y.S.Kim (2003.5.24)

In January of 1962, I was a postdoc at Princeton University insecure about my future. Princeton was and still is an isolated town with not much going on, and the only consolation I had was to spend weekends in New York.

While I was waiting for a train to Princeton at New York's Pennsylvania railroad station after spending a not-so-exciting weekend, I became somewhat hungry. I went into a fountain place and ordered a donut and coffee. Then, I noticed an oriental man across the fountain. He was eating a donut and drinking coffee. I looked at him very carefully. He was dressed like an ambassador but was eating like a soldier. I then became convinced that he was the Korean ambassador. His name was Chung Il-Kwon. I remembered his face from his photos in newspapers. He was a career soldier before becoming the ambassador, first to Turkey, France, and then to the United States.

I went to him and introduced myself as a Korean student, instead of a man with a doctoral degree in order to make him feel comfortable. At that time, Korean PhDs were rare and they used to receive VIP treatment even from the ambassador. He was kind enough to invite me to sit down together on a bench in the waiting room, and we talked. He was somewhat embarrassed to be seen alone at a train station, because ambassadors do not use trains when they travel. He explained to me that air planes could not fly because of the snowy weather. It was snowing heavily that night.

We talked about fifteen minutes. It was very clear to me that his agony was to conduct begging diplomacy toward the United States. Yet, he was telling me that, under given circumstances, the United States is very generous to Korea. His Washington-bound train left earlier than my local train to Princeton. I stood up and said goodbye to him. We shook hands, and he told me to study hard for the country and not to fool around.

When he was conducting a begging diplomacy in Washington, it was not his first time. He was the army chief during the most difficult period of the Korean War. During the months of July and August of 1950, the Young-chun front (between Kyungju and Taegu) was defended entirely by Korean troops without tanks. In order to boost the morale of those tankless Korean soldiers, Chung had to beg the commander of the U.S. 8th Army to borrow four tanks (operated by Americans). Chung said in his memoir how humiliating this experience was.

This was not Chung's first begging diplomacy. Chung Il-Kwon joined the Japanese army as a student at the two-year Manchu Military Academy. He was an excellent student there, and was allowed to finish the four-year course at the Japanese Military Academy in Tokyo. In August, 1945, he was captured by Soviet troops and was being transported to Siberia along with Japanese soldiers. He was brave enough to jump from the moving train to come back to Korea. He then joined the Korean army-to-be (called Chosun Kookbang Kyungbi Dae). When the army-to-be was organized into eight regiments, Chung became the commander of the fourth regiment stationed in Kwangju. There. he went to a neighboring U.S. army base to borrow twelve M1 rifles to train Korean soldier under his command. You can imagine how much begging he had to do.

To Koreans at that time, it was not trivial to understand how the M1 rifle works. They were accustomed only to Japanese swords and their Arisaka 38 and 99 rifles. You need a concept of pressure to understand the operation of the semi-automatic M1. Chung was quite successful in training his soldiers and impressed American advisors. As a consequence American troops handed over their rifles to Koreans when they gradually withdrew from Korea. By 1949, the Korean army had about 50,000 M1 rifles.

When the Korean army was expanding its man power in 1948, the army decided to divide some of the elite units into two. The fourth regiment in Kwangju was divided into the 4th and 14th regiments. At that time, the Korean police under Rhee Seungman was conducting a wholesale arrest of communists. Thus, the communists in Kwangju had to take a refugee in the newly formed 14th regiment. In October 1948, this 14th regiment staged a military revolt while waiting for embarkation for Cheju Island in the port city of Yeosu. Remember this. Kwangju was the home base of Park Hun-Young's communist organization.

Did the Korean army have enough M1 rifles? No! The rifle was one problem. There was not enough supply of ammunition. Then was the army without rifles? In 1890, the Japanese ordnance engineers, headed by Col. Arisaka Noriakira started developing a Mauser (original German model) variant for the Japanese army. In 1905 (38th year of Meiji's reign), they developed the 38-Siki model. We call it 38-shik (sam-pal shik). The model has its distinction, and Japan was able to export their 38-siki rifles to Western countries. Its most distinctive feature was its mechanical simplicity, and, because of this, the machine never breaks down. I was able to learn the mechanics of the 38-shik when I was 9 years old. I was taught by my elementary-school teacher who was a Korean but allowed to speak only Japanese. I knew that he was a nationalist, and he knew that he was teaching this to a Korean boy after the school hours. The 38-shik rifles were initially produced at the Japanese arsenals located in Koishikawa and Kokura not far from Tokyo.

Another advantage of the 38-shik was that its recoil was very weak. The reason was that the bullet diameter was only 6.5 mm while other countries have 7.6 or 7.7 mm rifles. In order to match the world standard, thus to increase the killing power, Japanese army decided to increase the diameter to 7.7mm from 6.5mm, and commissioned this new model in 1939. This is known to us as the 99-shik. Why 99? In 1940, Japanese claimed Japan's history was 2,600 years old, and the senior readers of this mail will remember the big celebration of "Giken Nisen Rok Byaku Nen." In 1939, the country of Japan was 2599 years old. They took the last two digits of this number.

It seems to be silly to talk about these numbers, but you should not be too ignorant. I met a reporter from a prominent Korean newspaper. He was mentioning the 38-shik Japanese rifle. I asked him about the number 38. His answer was that it has something to do with the 38th parallel. I attempted to correct his misunderstanding. He angrily asked me "what else do you know other than physics?" I give a break to SNU this time. He was not an SNU graduate.

In 1939, Japan was increasing the size of its army, and it had to mass- produce their 99-shik rifles by increasing the number of gun-producing factories to eleven including one in Inchon (Korea) and one Shenyang (Manchu). It is believed that Japan produced more than 6 million copies of the 99-shik rifle. When Japanese troops left Korea in 1945, their 99-shik rifles were left behind in Korea. Thus, the Korean army had an unlimited source of 99-shik Japanese rifles, even thought the factory in Inchon was destroyed by Americans after 1945.

Yes, the Korean army appeared to be equipped with the US-made M1 rifles in ceremonies and on the bases along the 38th parallel, but its basic weapon was the 99-shik Japanese rifle. On June 25 (1950), within hours, the Korean troops ran out of ammunition of their M1 rifles, and they had to pick up the 99-shik Japanese rifles. On June 29 (1950), I was walking from Seoul to Suwon. There were many retreating Korean soldiers. They were all with the 99-shik rifles, and I have not seen anyone with the M1 rifle.

After 1945, the Japanese rifle factory in Shenyang was occupied by the communist army of China, and the production continued. When Chinese soldiers came to Korea in 1950, they came with the 99-shik rifles produced at their Shenyang factory.

I have been talking about the Japanese influence on the Korean armed forces. Should I talk more or should I change the subject? I will decide next time. I will be in New York next week, and looking forward to meeting interesting Koreans. If I do, I will let you know.

Stories addressed to the World

Y.S.Kim (2003.6.1)

I just came back from New York after attending the 8th International Wigner Symposium held at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. As you know the tallest building in NYC is the Empire State Building, located at the south-west corner of the 34th Street and the 5th Avenue. At the north-east corner, there used to be a classy department store called "Altman's," but the building now houses the graduate programs of the City University System. Two blocks south of the 34th Street is the Korea town called "Meokja-Gall" (let-us-eat town) filled with Korean restaurants.

My problem is that there are still people who claim to have invented the Wigner Symposium without mentioning my name, even though it was the 8th meeting of the same conference program strictly under my management. By saying this, they are degrading themselves, because everybody knows that they did not. This time, the claim was made by one of Wigner's ex-students at Princeton. It did not bother me too much because I am so used to this kind of atrocious behavior of those who have famous advisors or famous parents.

Other than that, my main problem was to construct the administration of the 9th Wigner Symposium to be held in Poznan, Poland in 2005. Always, my agony is not being able to include fellow Koreans in the international advisory committee. The organizers always ask me whether I can recommend Koreans. I have to say NO because Koreans do not want to attend the conferences under my management.

I have been to Poznan twice. There are many tall Polish ladies there, but there are many short ladies. Both of them are kind and considerate. They never refuse when I propose photos with them. There is a dinner theater called "the 8th Week Day." This title was used a Polish writer named Marek Flasko to make an indirect indictment of the communist regime in Poland. This was a short story of a boy and a girl who could not find a place to make love in Warsaw. In 1958, Korea's SaSanGe magazine published a Korean translation of this article to show that Korea's Seoul is not different from the communist city of Warsaw. This became the catalysis of the 4.19 student revolution in 1960.

Most of the participants saw my webpages. They visit my robot page: http://www.physics.umd.edu/robot to find about conferences through my confmenu program. They also make comments on what I said on my recent program. Of course, the most popular page is of course my lady page. It is not uncommon these day for ladies propose photos with me to be included on the webpage.

As you see, I attach a story to Koreans whenever I send out this job mail. Likewise, I put a new story to my robot page every month before sending out my conference news. I write those stories starting from the stories from my Korean Wisdom file, but they are addressed to the world audience. My world story file is not far from my lady file. Go to my style page, and click on "Stories."

My latest story is about my favorite subject: Herod Complex. This world version is substantially different from what I said in the Korean version. There I mention myself and a French physicist named Louis Michel as two worst Herods I can think of. The story is very interesting, because Louis Michel was very highly respected by a group of Korean physicists, and I was thoroughly despised by the same group in Korea.

I will place a new story to the same website next month. This is a new program for Korean scientists who regard themselves as members of the world scientific community.

I will return to my Korea story next time.

Two more Korean Soldiers

Y.S.Kim (2003.6.2)

Army needs medical doctors. There was a medical doctor named Won Yongduk in the Manchurian army. He was a relatively high-ranking officer. One day, he received a small-sized and dark-skinned Korean officer thoroughly beaten by his Japanese colleagues. Because he was a Korean, Dr. Won cure him with extra passion.

When the Korean army was organized into eight regiments, Dr. Won became the commander of the 8th regiment stationed in Wonju, and the small-sized Korean officer cured by him became one of the staff officers in Dr. Won's regiment.

>From the beginning, Dr. Won was not going to become a soldier. He eventually became a uniformed politician with the rank of three-star general. He was in charge of looking after Rhea Seungman's political base in the army. How? He had a nontrivial relation with a lady named Park Maria, who was the most powerful woman during the Rhee era. Park Maria was Lee Kipoong's wife, and her first son became Rhee's adopted son.

One year after Rhee was overthrown, the dark-skinned Korean officer Dr. Won cured in Marchu became the ruler of Korea. His name was of course Park Chung-Hee. Naturally, Won was expecting a Gamtu from Park, such as an ambassador to Japan or Taiwan. Indeed, he was waiting for Park's call even on his death bed.

Many people are wondering when and why Park was turned off by Won Yongduk, and they say the following story. When Won was the commander of the 8th regiment. The officers had a dinner party. There, Won carelessly said "You must be from a "Sangnom" family" to Park. It is a widely accepted view that this insult made Park Chung Hee to decide to take a military action to overthrow Korea's military leadership. To Park's eyes, Won was not much of military man. He was a medical doctor by training.

Next time, I will talk about Park's ideological inclination. There are two ideological issues. The first issue was whether a military man should take over the country. The other issue is whether one should be a communist or pro-American.

Japan's 2.26 Incident

Y.S.Kim (2003.6.20)

In this article, I will be talking about what happened in Japan and the Japanese army during the period 1930-40. This short-time history left a profound effect on the ideology of Korean soldiers who served in the Japanese army, and on the early stage of Korea's democracy.

Not all Japanese politicians were war mongers. It was not Japan's parliamentary decision to set up the puppet government in Manchu in 1932. By that time, Japan's military establishment in Manchu was so strong that the generals made their own decisions on their area. The Japanese army in Manchu was called "Kanto-Goon" or "Kwantong-Goon" in Korean. The commander of the Kwantong-Goon was the supreme figure in the Japanese army, and the Japanese army officers in Tokyo had to obey orders from the Kwantong-Goon commander.

On February 26, 1936, out of an excessive loyalty to their Kwantong-Goon commander, a number of young army officers in Tokyo staged an armed revolt against the their government and assassinated key cabinet ministers who were not friendly to Kwantong-Goon. This incident is known as the 2.26 incident. However, this radical action was condemned both by the Japanese government and the Kwantong-Goon headquarters. As a consequence, the revolt was put down, but the Kwantong-Goon's influence on the Tokyo goverment became much stronger.

In 1939, the Kwantong-Goon became greedy enough to invade Mongolia. But, the invading Japanese army was stopped by fierce Mongolian troops at the border town called Nomonhan. Then, the Soviet army led by General Georgy Zhukov came with water-cooled machine guns and T-34 Stalin tanks, and wiped out the Japanese troops. This is called the Nomonhan incident, but not many people know about it because of Japanese propaganda effect.

As a consequence the top-level Kwantong-Goon generals were ordered to commit "Harakiri" (suicide by cutting his own abdomen). Among the generals, Lt. General Tojo Hedeki was not high enough to be admitted to the Harakiri party. On the other hand, in 1939, Japan was making preparations of the "Kigen 2600" (Japan became 2600 years old) for the all-out celebration scheduled for 1940. Tojo somehow became in charge of covering up the Nomonhan disaster. He indeed was very talented in inventing lies. He transformed the image of Kwantong-Goon to that of a 2-million strong invincible army. By doing this, he became the prime minister in 1941. He then started the Pacific War against the United States which ended with the nuclear baptisms on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Korean soldiers in the Japanese army witnessed this ugly history and developed their own ideology. Military men should not be involved in politics. Park Chung-Hee was of course was an exception but he admitted that he was acting against his principle by saying the he was the most unfortunate Korean soldier when he was retiring from the army.

General Lee Jong-Chan was the army chief of staff from 1951 (early) to 1952 (late). He was a graduate of the elite Japanese military academy and a relatively high-ranking officer in the Japanese army. He felt guilty about being pro-Japanese, and refrained from joining the Korean army, but had to come in 1949. On June 30, 1950. General Douglas MacArthur visited his army unit stationed at the southern end of the unbroken Han River rail bridge. At that time, Lee Jong-Chan was a colonel, and his unit consisted of 2000 Koreans troops re-assembled from retreating soldiers. MacArthur asked Lee whether he could hold his position for three days. Lee said "Yes" and he did. This was the reason why he became the chief of staff in 1951.

In 1952, Rhee Seungman was having a life-or-death struggle with the National Assembly. He ordered his army chief of staff to mobilize one division to close down the assembly. Lee Jong-Chan refused from his own conviction that military people should not get involved in politics. Lee was later fired by Rhee and was placed at a very insignificant position in the army.

But, Rhee did not realize that Lee Jong-Chan helped him by keeping the army out of politics. If the army had taken over the power, Rhee's position could have been in danger from continuing power struggle among the factions in the army. Lee Jong-Chan was later approached by Park Chung-Hee several times to stage a coup d'etat against the Rhee regime. Each time, Lee advised Park not to continue.

Indeed, the ideology of the Korean officers, strongly influenced by the tragedy of Japan, helped Rhee Seungman to maintain his regime until he became too old to control himself.

Wisdom of Korea (2003, July -- December )

Letter from a Korean-war Veteran

Y.S.Kim (2003.7.3)

I visited Pittsburgh last week to study more about George Westinghouse. He invented air brake system for trains and made money. He became rich enough to challenge Thomas Edison's electric company with a new scientific idea: To use AC instead of DC. He was the founder of Westinghouse Electric Company, and most of Korea's nuclear power generating facilities and know-how came from this company.

Forty nine years ago, I came to Pittsburgh to become a freshman at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now called Carnegie-Mellon University). If you visit my stories page, you can read my article about Westinghouse. As I stated there, I am mighty proud of being in a position to tell to the world about George Westinghouse from my American hometown with two American ladies on my sides. Please visit my robot page.

Not only the robot page aimed at my worldwide colleagues, my wisdom page (primarily for Koreans) is frequently by many non-Koreans. I would like to include an e-mail from an American gentleman who served in Korea during the Korean War. He is talking about his duties at the Sang Dong tungsten mine. He has questions about the geography of the area where he served. I am doing a research about the area. In the meantime, I trust that you will send me or to him an e-mail if you have answers. Truly, truly, he is one of our valuable American friends.

From dufferdink@comcast.net Tue Jun 24 22:37:11 2003
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 22:50:31 -0400
From: Donald Duffy
To: yskim@physics.umd.edu
Subject: Korea 1953-4

My Dear Professor Kim,

I am a retired American citizen and served with the United States army during the Korean war from the spring of 1953 till the Fall of 1954. I was in the 24th Infantry Division and one of the most remembered experiences was guarding a tungsten mine in Sang Dong. When hostilities ended on July 27,1953, my unit was in an area known as the Iron Triangle. The next day I was part of an advance unit that traveled by truck back down to Pusan where we were assigned to guard the American stockade which housed American G.I.'s that were bad boys that broke military rules and Korean laws. In the summer of 1953 the American prisoners were removed and the stockade was converted into a prisoner of war camp for Chinese soldiers. As a high school age boy you may have seen the camp. From that duty we were sent back up North in the dead of winter to guard the tungsten mine in Sang Dong. I have always been under the impression that this mine was located just a few miles below the DMZ line. Your story about the DMZ line being well above the 38th parallel on the Eastern side of the country to assure that the tungsten mines were keep in South Korean as opposed to being in North Korea reinforced my thoughts that our mine was farther north than the village of Sang Dong. Sang Dong is located just above the 37th parallel and just west of T'aebaek. Perhaps the village was not Sang Dong and the mine was named for the Sang Dong mining company.

At the age of 71 I have a renewed interest in finding out just where this tungsten mine was located and I have been searching the Internet for information on the Sang Dong tungsten mine. Your "Wisdom of Korea" writings came up in my search and I have read all 44 pages with great interest. I was particularly interested in the paragraphs about the Korea Tungsten Corporation and the 24-hour operations of digging tungsten for shipment to the United States. Half of our company was stationed at the mine and half the company was stationed at the rail head sixty miles away. Our job was to guard convoys of thirty trucks loaded with bags of raw tungsten all the way to the rail head where the tungsten was transferred to rail cars for shipment to the otherwise empty ships that were unloaded with supplies and food for the army and Korean people. I have no idea if the tungsten was paid for or not but I would like to think that it was a fair trade. You mentioned that these mines were guarded by black American soldiers and I'm sure there were some black soldiers but the biggest majority were white. In those days all American army units were intergraded and there were no segregated all black units.

While I was at the tungsten mine one of my duties was to run the P.X. and on occasion I would go by truck into Seoul to pick up supplies for the P.X. and I was intrigued by a rail road Just out side of Seoul that ran parallel to the road. The rail road came out of a tunnel in a mountain across a bridge to another mountain and into a tunnel and turned 360 degrees inside the mountain and came out just under the tunnel entrance that it went into the mountain and over two more bridges into another tunnel entrance on the next mountain. Do you know of the rail road engineering feat that I speak of? And if you do can you tell me if it is North of Seoul or is it South and west of the city. If I knew just where this rail road was located in relation to Seoul and I can find it on a map it may help me to figure out the road back to the mine.

When we were soldiers we had not idea of just where we were, we hopped in the back of a truck and when we got to where we were going we were told to get out. We had no maps and there were no road signs. We were clean when we got in the trucks and we were covered with a half inch of dust when we got to where we were going. Funny as it may seem after fifty years I am trying figure out just where I was in your country. I had a great deal of respect for the Korean people that I came in contact with while in the service and I have the same respect for the Korean Americans that have come to this country and have made it their home. They remind me of the hard working immigrants that came to this country at the turn of the last century and made America what it is today with hard work. The picture of Seoul of 1950, in you web site, and the picture of Seoul today shows what your people can do by hard work.

I am sure you are a very busy man and may not have the time to spare to help me in my search for finding out some answers about Korea and my tungsten mine but if you can I would be very grateful for any help.

Sincerely Yours, Don Duffy

P.S. I have written E-mail to a few Korean engineering students in Seoul about this railroad but none have been answered.

Panmunjom Cease-fire Agreement

Y.S.Kim (2003.7.27)

Fifty years ago, the Panmunjon cease-fire agreement was signed. The agreement was between the UN (=US) forces and the communist forces consisting of the North Korean army and the Chinese volunteer army. The Korean government headed by Rhee Seungman boycotted the agreement and did not sign the document. Since the cease-fire divided the country into two permanently, it was the day of disgrace for Koreans, and we do not talk about the day.

In 1953, there were no winners, but the Panmunjom agreement was the beginning of a new chapter in Korean history. Starting from 1953, a large number of Koreans went to the United States to study, picked up new technologies, and played the central role in building Korea's industrial base. Some of them chose to stay in the U.S. to play world-wide roles.

The history of Korean students in the United States is fifty years old. It should be documented. It will give guidance not only to new Korean students, but also to the American policy makers. As we see what is going on in Iraq these days, Americans are not skilful in running other countries. On the other hand, they are quite proud of constructing a country named "South Korea." According to Americans, South Korea is their product. Then, how did Americans produce South Korea? They did not directly run the country. What they did was to provide young Koreans with opportunities to study in their country, and Koreans did very well.

I cannot spend my full time doing this research, but I will be happy to write short stories on this subject from time to time. Tonight, I will talk about two Koreans and one American, by following up the letter from an American veteran who fought in Korea. His name is Donald Duffy. If you read this letter in my previous mail, you got some feelings about how Korea was in 1953. I am very happy to report to you that the response to his inquiry was overwhelming. I cannot forward all the letters I received but I can attache one.

This letter was written by Professor Kim Ilpyong of the University of Connecticut. Like me, he was one of the first post-cease-fire Korean students in the United States. He had a distinguished academic career after receiving his PhD degree from Columbia University. To many of you Bruce Cummings is the ultimate authority on Korean affairs, but he was Prof. Kim's PhD student.

The above-mentioned American veteran read the following article of mine from my webapge. I am talking there about the conversation I had with my high-school classmate named Keh Chang-Ho who later served as the legendary magazine called SaSanGe. This conversation took place exactly fifty years ago.

Nationalism with Boundary Conditions

Y.S.Kim (2002.12.29)

In July of 1953, the United States was getting ready to sign the cease-fire agreement with the communists at Panmunjom. It was a fatal blow to Koreans' desire for unification. The government mobilized students to stage anti-cease-fire demonstrations, but I knew that it was useless. Koreans had a more immediate problem. American troops were ready to go home, and the Korean army had only 300,000 troops with sub-standard fire power and commanding structure. Rhee's government became desperate and decided to expand military training to high-school students. I was one of 30 students from my high school to receive the first taste of the training. We were camping at the ShinSunDae beach in Pusan.

The night before the cease-fire day (July 27), I had the overnight (non-slip) duty with my classmate named Keh Chang-Ho. I talked about him in my recent articles. He was the central figure in the SaSangGe's editorial office while he was an undergraduate student at SNU. Among my classmates, he was known as a politician while I was a mathematician. However, they did not know that I also had a political sophistication. All night, we talked about everything under the sun and moon. Among the topics we talked about was the American influence in Korea.

I asked him the following question. Is Korea going to remain under American influence in view of the American failure to win the Korean War, and also in view of the growing nationalism throughout East Asia? At that time, I was well aware of what was going on in China through my short-wave radio. To many of you, Bruce Cummings represents the ultimate wisdom for Korean affairs. The growing nationalism in East Asia is his favorite subject. I do not know how old Cummings was in 1953, but I was interested in his subject perhaps before he heard about Korea.

Chang-Ho was somewhat surprised at my question. He thought I was a thorough pro-Americanist. Did you know I was the first Korean boy to wear blue jeans? Chang-Ho had a better foresight than I did. His answer was that, although China is waking up, it would take at least one century for Asians to formulate their nationalism, and the United States would remain as the major, if not dominant, power in Korea. He knew that I was making preparations to go the U.S. and told me to go ahead with my plan. He was right.

We also noted what Americans were doing in Korea during the War. The North-American continent is very rich in natural resources, but there are no tungstens. The best tungsten reserves were in the Korean peninsula. These days, young Koreans do not know the difference between the 38th parallel and the cease-fire line. The difference is very simple. The 38th parallel is straight but the cease-fire line is not. This transition was also made by Americans. What was the purpose? The best tungsten reserves were in the south of the cease-fire line. Americans could not afford those natural resources to go to the Soviet side.

In 1951, Americans set up the Korean Tungsten Corporation (Daehan Joong-Suk Gong-Sa) with its headquarters in Pusan, and ran 24-hour operations in digging tungsten mines and transporting the raw materials to the United States. The mines were guarded by black American soldiers with scary look to Koreans. By 1955, Korea's tungsten reserves were completely depleted and were transferred to the strategic stockpiles in the United State. Did Americans pay to these precious stones? You should know the answer. This is precisely what colonial powers do to their colonies.

Thirteen months after I had the overnight duty with Chang-Ho, I was a freshman at the Carnegie Institute Technology (now called Carnegie- Mellon) in Pittsburgh known as the hometown for America's steel industry. The largest steel company was the US Steel, and the company was rich enough to buy Korea at that time. However, by 1975, Korea's steel company called POSCO was talking about taking over the bankrupt US Steel. I do not know what happened since then. These days, Korea is one of the major exporters of much more precious stones than tungsten. They are semiconductor chips.

I think I explained enough about my version of nationalism. Let me expand the question of isolationism. I met my friend Keh Chang-Ho again in 1965. He came to Washington and stayed in my house several days. He became quite different. He confessed to me that he made a misjudgment. Because Americans appeared so stupid during the period between 1954 and 1965 (his first visit the U.S.), he thought Koreans trained in the U.S. would be totally useless for Korea's development. He told me further he did not know how much Korean students have to work for their PhD degrees in the United States.

Chang-Ho's thinking was important because it was SaSangGe's thinking. It is very easy for Koreans to develop the tendency to distance themselves from Americans if they see only Americans who are in Korea. I once complained to one of my American friends why Americans look so ugly in Korea. He reminded me that I once complained about the uncultured Soviet soldiers who came to Korea in 1945. He then asked me whether bona-fide American diplomats want to go to England or France or to Korea. Furthermore, in Korea, American soldiers are not diplomats. They are only waiting for the day to go home.

The Hakbyung intellectuals were trained in Japan, and they were not capable of understanding the United States. Based on the Americans they observed, they developed the prejudice that American are incompetent to solve any problems. They thought that American students only go to parties, and the degrees were given to all who contribute money to their universities. This prejudice was the cause of the down-fall of SaSangGe. My friend Chang-Ho is smart enough to know this, and this is the reason why he decided live quietly. He is OK!

In spite of what I said above the SaSangGe's contribution should not be underestimated. It made its unique impact on the development of Korea's democracy and in the formulation of Korea's nationalism. However, the nationalism cannot survive unless it takes into account the boundary conditions, Korea's sports people, business people, and music people have been capable of extending their nationalism well beyond their national boundary. How about Korean graduate students? I do not know about other countries. In the United States, Korean graduate students refuse to learn English. This is the extent of Korea's isolationism. Frankly I do not know how to solve this problem. Perhaps the only way is to close down the universities producing those useless students.

I am not Korea's first nationalist, but I may be the first one to attach the word "boundary condition" to the word "nationalism." If I apply this word to Korean nationalists, Rhee Seungman was the first nationalist who understood boundary conditions, and Kim Il-Sung was the worst nationalist. The nationalism without boundary conditions is a self-destructive isolationism.

How was I able to invent the magic word "boundary condition." I did not invent this word. Most of you are scientists, and have experience of solving partial differential equations. Solutions of those equations do not make much sense unless we impose proper boundary conditions. In the scientific literature, there are many non-sense papers because they did not handle the boundary conditions. properly. If you visit the Dashen-Frautchi fiasco from my robot page: www.physics.umd.edu/robot, my professional career starts with worrying about the boundary conditions. I almost got thrown out from the United States because of my paper of 1966 which I mentioned in the DF webpage.

Richard Feynman was the most creative American physicist in the 20th Century. He used to come up with brilliant physical ideas with wrong mathematics. In one of his papers, he used a wrong boundary condition. My colleagues laugh when I point this out. I like boundary conditions to the extent that I apply them to Korea's nationalism.


After reading this article, Donald Duffy sent me an e-mail asking me about the exact location of the Sangdong tungsten mine and that of a tunnel he still remembers. Since I did not have the answer to his question, I circulated his mail for your assistance. We received many letters, but I am attaching only one. Please continue reading. It is interesting and informative.

Date: Fri, 4 Jul 2003 05:26:49 -0400
From: Ilpyong Kim
To: ysnet@physics.umd.edu

Professor Kim,

It has been a long time since we have communicated. I am writing this eamil to respond to Don Duffy's querry about the tungusten mine in South Korea. The tunnel he talks about is located about 10 miles south of Wonju and the tunnel was built by Japense engineers (1930s?) which was ingenuity and the marvel of the Engineering and the most ingeneous way to go through the high mountains. I went through the tunnel by train several times when I visited my uncle who was administrator at the coal mine in T'aebeck. If you look at the map of Korea you will find it in the middle of Kangwon Province which is the city of Wonju and travel 10-15 miles to south you will find the famous 360 degree turn around tunnel and from there to the east about 50 miles you will find Yongwol and then about 10-15 miles to the north-east you will find T'aebeck where the famouns gambling place was planned to be created. T'aebeck's old name was Chungsun and an old map may still have the old name Chungsun.

I was a commissioned officer in the ROK Army during the Korean War and was located at Hwachon which was not too far from the Iron Triangle where he stationed one time. He will remember the Spring (May) 1953 offensive attack by the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) around the Iron Triangle.

I hope he will find the Tungusten mine in T'aebeck on the 37 parallel located in the middle of Kangwon province.

With all the best,

Ilpyong Kim
Prof. Ilpyong Kim, Ph.D.
University of Connecticut
61 Hillyndale Road
Storrs, CT 06268, USA
Tel: (860) 429-2428
Fax: (860) 429-9372
From: "Donald Duffy" (dufferdink@comcast.net)
To: Ilpyong Kim
Subject: Sang-Dong and Railroad in Korea!

Dear Prof. Ilpyong Kim,

Your message to professor Y.S.Kim about my search for information on the Sang_dong tungsten mine and the railroad engineering feat was forwarded to me by Prof. Kim. Your information that the railroad tunnel is just south of Wonju was quite a surprise to me. I have been under the impression that my few trips to pick up PX supplies was to Seoul and this railroad was just outside of Seoul. I am now realizing that I was mistaken in thinking, for the last fifty years, it was outside of Seoul. It must have been Wonju. I have five pictures that I took in 1953 of the railroad and bridges and if I can figure out how to get them from a CD onto E-mail I will send them to you. They should prove to me once and for all just where I saw this railroad if you can tell me that Yes! these pictures were of the railroad south of Wonju.

Thank you very much for your input..............................

Don Duffy

P.S. The Spring offensive that you speak of was just before our division, the 24th Inf. Div. was brought back to Korea from Japan. The 24th Div. was wiped out in the early part of the war and it's commandeer Gen. Dean was taken a prisoner of war. I joined the Div. in Japan in May of 1953 and the entire div. was air lifted back to Korea at the end of June just before the cease fire and was moved up to the Iron Triangle about three weeks before the cease fire. Lucky me!!!

Nuclear Power Plants in Korea

Y.S.Kim (2003.8.8)

As you know, I have been writing articles about a man named Rhee Seungman, and recently about the Korean army which he used as his political power base. I will continue my stories about him in future e-mails. You will be interested to know that I used Rhee to boost up my position in the international scientific community. If I talk about Woodrow Wilson, Princeton, and Einstein, my position cannot go down.

You may visit my stories page and click on Wilson and Poincare. In 1966, some of my colleagues at Princeton said "Dashen is a genius but you are a Chosenjin. Never come back to Princeton." If you like to know about this incident, click on the "Dashen-Frautchi Fiasco" on the same webpage. I wrote my latest Wilson story to give my final answer to them. Thanks to many lady photos and conference and job information I post, my webpage is visited very frequently by many scientists around the world.

If you think I am persistent, this is the lesson I learned from Rhee Seungman. There are people who like him, and there are more who dislike him, but they all agree that he was a very persistent man. I have been and will be persistent in insisting that those people who said against me in 1966 are not fit to inherit Einstein's scientific fortune, and I am the one who will continue Einstein's genealogy. This Jokbo-oriented approach is one of the most valuable aspects of the Wisdom of Korea.

Let me get into the main subject of this mail. In one of my earlier articles, I talked about George Westinghouse, I also said that I am quite proud of my Pittsburgh background which allows me to introduce Westinghouse to the world. During the period 1950-1980, Westinghouse Electric Company played the dominant role in developing nuclear power plants, and Korea imported nuclear hardware and know-how from this company. For this reason, in my earlier mail, I said most of Korea's nuclear power plants came from the Westinghouse. Apparently this statement is out-dated, and I receive the following e-mail from one of the readers.

From syoh@kaeri.re.kr Fri Aug 8 07:35:31 2003
Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2003 13:54:49 +0900

Dear Professor Kim,

In this mail, I'd like to remind you the status of nuclear power plants (NPP) in Korea.

You wrote: Speaking of Energy Research, I visited Pittsburgh last week to study more about George Westinghouse. He invented air brake system for trains and made money. He became rich enough to challenge Thomas Edison's electric company with a new scientific idea: To use AC instead of DC. He was the founder of Westinghouse Electric Company, and most of Korea's nuclear power generating facilities and know-how came from this company.

As of 2003, there are 20 NPPs including 2 units under construction in Korea. Among them, only 6 units came from Westinghouse; 4 from (or based on) AECL, Canada; 2 from Framatome, France (These are rather similar to NPPs of Westinghouse concept, though); 4 from (or based on) Combustion Eng., U.S.A.; and 4 as the Korean Standard NPP. Thus, I'd like to say that what you said about Westinghouse ("... most of Korea's nuclear ...") is true about 20 years ago, but is not correct these days.

Sincerely yours,
Soo-youl Oh

From Dr. Oh's letter, we are very happy to see that Koreans have developed the Korean Standard Model. Korea's NPP team started with a group of Korean engineers at the Korea Electric Power Company. The leader of this team was a person named Roh Yoon Rae, and he used to come to my house when he came to the Westinghouse plant located at Reading, Pennsylvania. Mr. Roh was my high-school classmate and entered SNU's Engineering College in 1954, like me. We both were in the Electrical Engineering Department. Roh gave me a brass plate commemorating the opening of Korea's first NPP located at Kori.

Korean physicists complain that I am like King Herod, because I often condemn Korea's No. 1 by saying that Korea's No. 1 means that he/she could not get tenure in the United States). I will not behave like Herod to our engineers, but I am certainly in a position to give kihap to them. Let us be friends! OK?

Cohesive Force in the New Army

Y.S.Kim (2003.8.13)

In my earlier articles, the Korean army in its initial stage was nothing more than a re-assembled unit of the old Japanese army. On August 15, 1945, when the government was inaugurated, there were about 30,000 troops organized into 8 regiments.

In this re-assembled unit, was there any cohesive force which held the high-ranking commanders together? Were they absolutely loyal to their new president? Rhee Seungman drew personal respects from them. However, did the officers really understand the meaning of the constitution or the position of the president occupies in the armed forces? The answer is largely No.

Then what held them together? There were two elements. First, most of the high-ranking Korean officers came from the North after witnessing the atrocities committed by Soviet troops there. They were staunchly anti-communistic. They were eager to march toward their hometowns.

Another element was that they had access to things made in U.S.A. They were able to ride military jeeps, which were indeed superior cars at that time. During this process, they developed a superiority complex. They felt they belonged to a very privileged class. Right after Ahn Doo-Hee (2nd Lieutenant) gunned down Kim Koo on Sunday (June 26, 1949), he was thoroughly beaten by Kim Koo's assistants. Then a group of military police appeared and shouted "How can you dare to touch a soldier?"

Military units were off limits to police, and soldiers can do things police did not like. Korean police used to arrest and beat up those, both men and women, who did social dancing. To Koreans, a man and a woman holding together face-to-face looked very obscene at that time. On the other hand, once one gets addicted to the social dance, he/she has to it every night. Thus, the military places served as dancing clubs. Army officers should learn how to dance. Otherwise, they did not belong to the new elite class. During the pearled 1948-50, the word "intelligence information" did not have anything to do with troop movements in the North. The "Jung-Bo" meant which army unit is holding secret dancing party tonight.

In the evening and night of June 24 (1950), the Korean army was celebrating the opening of the officers' club near the army headquarters in Yong-San. They had a mammoth-scale dance party where every officer was invited, while the North Korean troops were loading their guns.

Indeed, the elitism coming from military jeeps and social dancing was the cohesive force among the army officers. From the supply point of view, the most popular item among them was of course the jeep. The least popular item (something they do not want to worry about) was the rifle. In spite of these shortcomings, the dance culture held the army together.

While military bases provided a sanctuary to to those dance-crazy officers, they provided the same sanctuary to those who had to run away from police arrest. The Korean army had to increase its man power from 30,000 to 100,000. For the communists who had to escape from the wholesale arrest of communists by Rhee's police, the army was the only place to go. Those communists then started organizing themselves within the army. This was the most serious threat to the new Korean government headed by Rhee Seungman.

I am leaving today for Budapest and St.Petersburg, and will be back on August 27. I hope I can provide emergency broadcasts if needed. Otherwise, you can wait for a week or two. I promise to bring many photos of nice-looking ladies.

Letter from Richard Underwood

Y.S.Kim (2003.8.28)

I talk often (perhaps too often) about the Sorae Church and Sorae Beach. I would like to introduce to you an American gentleman who also likes to talk about Sorae. His grandfather was Dr. Horace Underwood, the first American missionary who came to Korea in 1885. You will enjoy the following e-mail from him.

Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2003 13:59:11 -0500
From: Richard Underwood
To: yskim@physics.umd.edu
Subject: Sorae, Whanghae-do

Dear Professor Kim,

I recently discovered your web site and viewed it with great interest. I have visited the Sorae Church many times as a child. Our family procured the Kumi-Po beach and shared it with our missionary friends for many years. In fact you show two pictures which show our home clearly. I used also to visit Sorae on Chang-nal (market day) with my dear Korean nurse/caretaker to shop and enjoy all the hustle and bustle!

I would love to get photo quality copies of the pictures of the beach area (I believe you show 3) since most of our pictures were lost in W W II and the few that remained were lost in 6/25. Do you have any more pictures of that beautiful beach and the wonderful islands off the coast. As a boy I sailed to each of them many times with my family. The last time we were there was in the summer of 1941 after almost all the missionaries in Korea had left in anticipation of WW II. I have deep and fond memories of the beach, of the old church at Sorae, and of many friends we had who lived there and at Kumipo.

For identification: My Grandfather was Dr. Horace G. Underwood the 1st, pioneer missionary and early visitor to, and admirer of the Sorae Church. I was born and raised in Korea in Seoul, but spent my happiest mints each summer at "Sorae Beach". Your photos also show our little boat in our harbor. All of this stirs deep and happy memories.

I have retired in 1992 after 30 years in Seoul under the Presbyterian Mission as the head of the "Seoul Foreign School" - an American School for English speaking students, K - !2. There may well be some of our graduates at Maryland!

Thank you again for reminding me of so many blessed years in beautiful Whang-hae Do with gorgeous mountains and unexcelled ocean scenery - and most of all with the gracious and kind people in the Sorae and Kumipo areas.

Dick Underwood
2401 Pond St.
Urbana, IL, 61801

For the photos of his house, visit http://ysfine.com/kobak/sobeach.html.

Korean Girls in Saint Petersburg

Y.S.Kim (2003.9.7)

As I promised, I brought back many photos from my latest trip. I took about 200 shots, and 42 of them have been added to my web page. Among the people listed there, there is a link entitled Koreisky. You will see two Korean sisters ten and eight years old. What is so special about them?

While I was attending a conference entitled "Physics and Control," the organizers provided a trip to a town called "Pushkin" named after Russia's greatest poet. There is Catherine's Palace which now serves as a museum. On the museum ground, I noticed a group of about 20 Russian children. They are from the same elementary-school in Saratov. The city of Saratov is half-way between Moscow and Kazakhstan.

I went to them and asked whether anyone speaks English. Only two girls responded. They were Korean-looking girls. I asked them whether they came from Kazakhstan or Uzbeckistan. They said they are from Saratov but their parents came from Kazakhstan. I asked them whether they are Russians of Korean origin. They said Yes. I was so happy to hear that I had a photo with them. Later, while I was resting at the Pushkin Square, those young ladies came to me to have a photo with me with their own camera. I was so happy to pose with them, and I took another photo with my camera.

What lesson can we learn from these two small Koreans? Undoubtedly, their ancestors were forced to move to central Asia from the Vladivostok area by Joseph Stalin in 1936. It is safe to say that Koreans living in eastern Siberia were among the most underprivileged Korean from the Korean point of view. These Korean did exceptionally well under the atrocious conditions beyond our imagination. The parents of those two Korean girls are determined to send their children to the United States. That is the reason why they are speaking English so fluently. I predict that they will become very active in the world stage when they grow up.

Let us look at Korean graduate students in the United States. In general, after staying in the United States for seven years, they cannot speak English. I am not the only one who syas this. A young SNU professor once raised a controversy by saying that Korean PhDs (made in USA) cannot order Hamburgers at McDonald's. In 1999, the American Physical Society held its centennial meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, and there were more than 7,000 participants. There were more than 200 Koreans. At the reception, I was able to count only five Koreans. They were all senior citizens like myself. I asked young Koreans why they did not come to the reception. Their answer was that they could not speak English, and they feel comfortable only with their own ex-classmates. They are the ones who received their doctoral degrees from U.S. universities.

I have been telling this kind of story for sometime, but Korean students are determined not to listen to me. Perhaps those young ladies from Kazakhstan can teach them a lesson.

Since the end of the Korean War, many Korean students came to the United States. They did well here and also well in constructing their country after going back. Indeed, if Americans insist that they built a country named South Korea, it is because they provided free education to those Korean students. From this point of view, Korean students should get A (plus).

On the other hand, from the point of world-wide competition in research front, Koreans did miserably. The grade is an unambiguous F. Koreans cannot get tenure in the academic world, while Chinese are flourishing. Korea has been under the U.S. influence for nearly 60 years. China had been the enemy country of the United States until 1980. Furthermore, Koreans put in their best resources for their children's education. It is about time for young Koreans open their eyes to the world.

Still, Korea has a special relation with the United States. Koreans work hard. The United States rewards hard-working people. The Confucian- based Korean ethics is totally consistent with Christianity. This is the reason why there are so many Christians in Korea. This Christian background is quite consistent with American ethics. As I say always, the super-constitution of the United States is the Gospel of Matthew. Koreans have all sufficient conditions to succeed in the U.S. If they fail, they cannot blame anyone else except themselves.

A Communist named Lee Hyun-Sang

Y.S.Kim (2003.9.9)

In 1945, Japan was rapidly losing in the Pacific War, and Japanese authorities started drafting Korean boys to their army indiscriminately. Koreans knew the war was nearing the end. The best way to deal with this madness was to avoid the draft by hiding in the mountains. Korea is a mountainous country.

When Americans moved into Korea in 1945, the American commander gave political freedom to all koreans including korean communists. indeed, it was the golden opportunity for the Korean communists to organize themselves. Toward the end of 1947, Rhee Seungman became the effective ruler of the country, even before he became the president in 1948. Rhee was in control of the Korean National Police.

Rhee closed down all the offices of the communist party, and started arresting the communists. I said in my previous mail that many of them found a sanctuary in the Korean army. Many more chose to hide in the mountains, as Koreans did in 1945 to avoid draft to the Japanese army.

Those communists hiding in the mountains had to come down to villages to get the food and daily supplies. Sometimes, they raided local police stations to get the fire arms. Then they had to raid other villages to get more supplies. Koreans used to call them "Gong-Bi" (communist bandits). I meet sometimes young Koreans with Gong-Bi grandfather.

Even before 1941 (before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor), there was a a communist named Lee Hyun-Sang. He set up a mountain base within the Jiri-San area. He was interested in constructing an army in order to liberate Korea from Japanese colonialism. He was able to assemble a sizable number of Koreans who felt discriminated in Japan while studying there. They were nationalists, but later became convinced communism was the answer to their goal. To them, American who came after 1945 were not different from Japanese colonialists.

Lee Hyun-Sang was able to establish a supply route from the sympathizers in villages including a number of rich land owners. He was able to feed his troops, and to hold classes for them to study communism. But he lacked rifles and military professionalism. The only military operation he could stage was to raid local police stations to get the fire arms and ammunition. Yet, Lee called his army "Nambu-Goon" (southern army) in contrast to the North Korean army in the North. Lee continued his guerrilla operations until his death in 1954. He as the longest-operating communist in Korea. There is still a group of Koreans holding the annual "Jesa" ceremony for him.

However, as many communists went to the mountains to hide to avoid the arrest by Rhee's police, Lee Hyun-Sang became their hero. Then there was a military revolt in the 14th regiment in October of 1948 less than two month after the Korean government was inaugurated on August 15. This revolt is known to us as the YeoSoo-SoonChun incident. I will talk more about this next time.

14th Infantry Regiment

Y.S.Kim (2003.9.17)

By the end of 1947, the Korean army-to-be completed the translation of the soldiers manual of the U.S. Army into Korean, and started training new Korean soldiers according to the U.S. standard. How did they train before that? The only method they had was applying "kihap" to non- attentive soldiers. The U.S. standard means that new soldiers had to be trained according to the U.S. weapons system. They had to learn how to operate and maintain M-1 rifles. The concept of maintenance is very strange to Koreans even these days.

In 1948, the Korean army started increasing its size, by creating new units. The army does not create new units from nothing. I does it by dividing the existing units. During the initial stage of the Korean army-to-be, its Fourth Regiment was organized in Kwangju, and its commander was Major Chung Il-Kwon who later turned out to be one of the most important generals during the Rhee regime. As I said before, Chung was the first Korean army officer to train his soldiers how to operate the M-1 rifle, and the Fourth Regiment grew as one of the elite army units. Thus, the army created a new unit called the 14th Regiment from the Fourth Regiment.

Indeed, the 14th Regiment consisted of the officers and soldiers trained according to the U.S. standard, and was ready for combat duties. What authorities did not know was that two platoons (about 60 soldiers) of this regiment consisted of thoroughly dedicated communists. Kwangju was the first home base for Park Hung-Young's communist organiztion. In October of 1948 (less than two months after the Korean government was inaugurated), the government decided to send this new unit to the Cheju Island to wipe out the communist rebels there.

Earlier, in 1947, Rhee Seungman's Korean police started arresting communists, they had to take sanctuaries in the army and the mountains. Many also fled to Cheju and organized themselves. There they armed themselves with the 99-shik rifles left over from the old Japanese arms depots. By March of 1948, the Cheju Island was under communist domination. Of course, Rhee's police went there to suppress those communists and created an unfortunate incident known as the 4.3 massacare. Yet, the communist influence was so strong that the Islanders were not able to elect the assembly men during the historic 5.10 election in 1948.

I will talk about what happend to the 14th Regiment next time. The goverment did not know that this unit was infested with communits. This is not the only thing goverment did not know. As I said many times before, the high school I went to had many 38 refugees (those who came to the South to avoid atrocities committed by Soviet troops there). Some of them came down with a music book of the Soviet army march No.5. In Russia, it is called Proschanie Slavianki. Like our Arirang, this music is loved by all Russians. It also has an appeal to Koreans. My high school band used to play this music very loudly, but authorities did know that it was a Russian (therefore communist) music.

I am very happy to introduce this music to you through web music. Visit Proschanie Slavianki page

Follow-up on Proschanie Slavianki

Y.S.Kim (2003.9.21)

You will recall that I talked about a Russian march called "Proschanie Slavianki." In response to this story, Prof. Yoonsuck Choe of Texas A&M Univ. sent me a very interesting comment. Please visit the Proschanie Slavianki page, and hear the music. Prof. Choe's e-mail is linked to this page. Click on "Comments" at the end of the page.

I was very happy to note from his mail that the Korean military band played "Proschanie" to welcome the president of Russia when he came to Korea in 2001, more than fifty years after I heard from my high school band (illegal at that time. Authorities did not know).

I often bragg about things I have. Some you like to hear, and most you do not. Yet, you are still curious about how I am able to impress Russian and European ladies. The secret is the Korean background which I share with you (I said this many times before). I am able to mention "Proschanie Slavianki" from my Korean background. In one of the web images, you will note that a Polish lady was quite impressed by my handling of the Russian band.

Likewise, if I can do things which my non-Korean colleagues cannot do, it is simply because I am able to use what I learned in Korea. Then the question is how I can do this while you cannot. After all, you and I have the same background. The answer is that I have the right attitude toward my heritage while you do not.

My Korean education went through five different stages: (1) Japanese colonial education, (2) Stalin's Soviet-style education, (3) education under American military occupation (school starts in September), (4) roofless class rooms during the Korean War, (5) Korea's corrupt education system (students could buy grades with their parents' money and power). Yet, I never had a moment to think the education I had in Korea was other than No. 1 in the world. From my style page, you will note that my attitude is appreciated by the ladies of the world.

I will talk about the military revolt in the 14th regiment next time. This is known as the YeoSu-SoonChun incident.

Yeosu-Soonchun Incident

Y.S.Kim (2003.9.25)

In 1948, the Korean navy had one transport ship called LST. This US-built ship was big enough to carry one regiment of fully equipped troops. I was once on this ship, and I know how big it was. I think it was October 4, 1948 (I do not remember the exact date). The LST was ready to receive the soldiers from the 14th Regiment destined to the Cheju Island.

The night before, those soldiers were ordered to have a good night sleep. As I said before, two platoons of this regiment consisted of about sixty devoted communists. Shortly after the midnight, those communists went to the commander's quarter and killed the regiment commander and his staff members. They then led to the regiment to the Yeosu railroad station and commandeered a train to SoonChun. During the course, many soldiers defected to the government side, but many stayed with the communists. The 14th regiment became a formidable communist army unit, well trained and well equipped. These communist troops went to the SoonChun police station and killed everybody there. They then set up a communist city administration as branch of the North Korean government.

Of course, the Korean (South) government reacted shiftily to suppress this revolt, and the revolt was crushed. However, the hardcore communists were able to break out from the encirclement by government troops, and managed to reach the Jirisan base, commanded by a communist named Lee Hyun-Sang.

Earlier, presumably, at the time of the inauguration of the communist government in North Korea (September 9, 1948), Lee visited Pyongyang briefly, perhaps to seek a Gamtu in the government of the Peoples Republic, but was ordered by Kim Il-Sung and Park Hun-Young to go back to his Jirisan base to construct a southern wing of the People's Army. That is the reason why he called his guerilla unit "Nambu-Goon." He was also promised supply of arms from the North through mountain routes.

The rebellious 14th Regiment was destroyed, and the Korean army decided not to use the number 4 for any of their units. This tradition still continues. However, those devoted communists from the 14th Regiment formed a core of the guerilla war which lasted for one full year. In order to fight this war, the Korean army had to put up more than one half of its troop strength.

The commander of this anti-guerilla war was Col. Chung Il-Kwon who had earlier constructed the 4th Regiment in Kwangju, from which 14th Regiment branched out. As I said before, he was interested in the U.S. weapons system, and was the first Korean soldier to learn how to use the M1 rifle. During this anti-guerilla operation, he was able to use effectively the 60-mm light mortars and 81-mm heavy mortars. He was also able to learn how to run the army in combat situation. Chung impressed American military advisors. He was then promoted to a one-star general and was invited to study at the Army Staff School in Forth Leavenworth, Kansas, where Americans train their generals.

He was rushed back to Korea immediately after the Korean War broke out June 25, 1950. One week after, he was installed by Americans as the army chief of staff. He replaced his predecessor Gen. Chae Byung-Duk.

The anti-communist guerilla war also taught another lesson to the Korean army. Koreans can be trained quickly to use American weapons. The army commanders learned also about the rate of ammunition consumption. However, Korean did not have means to produce ammunition. For this, Americans were holding the key. In a declassified letter by Rhee Seungman to Harry Truman (then the president of the United States) written in the spring of 1950, Rhee was begging for ammunition. In the letter, he says the Korean army has two months' supply according to the U.S. military advisors, but it has only two days' supply according to the Korean generals. Rhee continues to say that Americans are talking about the peace-time consumption rate and the Korean generals are talking about the all-out war.

I was able to witness this with my own eyes and ears when I visited the 38th parallel three weeks before the War. Field commanders are complaining about the supply of ammunition. Korean troops on the front line were equipped with American M-1 rifles. However, those American rifles and mortars became totally useless one day after the Korean War broke out, and Korean troops had to resort to the 99-shik Japanese rifles. I said this before.

Communists named Kang Tae-Mu, Pyo Mu-Jung, and Park Chung-Hee

Y.S.Kim (2003.10.3)

The communists in the 14th Regiment staged an armed revolt hoping that other communists in the army would also take military action, but it did not happen. Among the prominent communist army officers were Majors Kang Tae-Mu, Pyo Mu-Jung, and Park Chung-Hee. There were many others. These people had some military experience in the past, and knew that YeoSoo-SoonChun-type revolt would not work. They also knew that the highest-ranking army officers thoroughly loyal to Rhee Seungman, their president.

Kang Tae-Mu and Pyo Mu-Jung were battalion commanders stationed at the 38th parallel. They knew that their future would be in jeopardy because of their communist backgrounds. They thus took a drastic action. They led their respective units to the North, and joined the North Korean army. The soldiers in those two battalions (more than 500) were paraded on the streets of Pyongyang. Equipped with M1 rifles and other American battle gears, they looked very impressive to Koreans in the North. Some in Pyongyang thought the "Liberation War" (to liberate the South from the U.S. imperialism) was over and was not needed.

Kang and Pyo became promoted to colonels in the North Korean army, and fought hard against the South during the Korean War. But they could not get promoted to the rank of generals. They were exiled to obscure party positions in country side. I think it was 1990. I noticed Kang Tae-Mu's article with his photo in the North Korean propaganda literature. While praising Kim Il-Sung cursing Americans, he was expressing his home sickness. He did not make a wise decision in 1948.

Major Park Chung-Hee was much wiser than Kang and Pyo. He was arrested during the initial phase of the army investigation prompted by the YeoSoo-SoonChun and Kang-Pyo incidents. He was not a devoted communist but was looking for a military revolt because he was turned off by his boss named Won Yong-Duk. Won was a graduate of Severance Medical College and did not know anything about military affairs. When Park was wounded, Won treated Park well while both were in the Manchu army. Won once said to Park "You must be from a Sangnom family," when Park was a staff officer in Won's 8th Regiment.

Park was also turned off by the life-style of high-ranking officers. He was thoroughly disgusted with the army's dance culture. As I said before, the American life-style with jeep ride and social dancing served as the cohesive force for the newly assembled Korean army. This is the reason why Park arrested the social dancers shortly after he took over the government in May of 1961.

Throughout his army career, Park was always interested in taking over the government by military means. He did a research on Japan's 2.26 incident and knew how effective radio broadcasting was. That was the reason why the first target of Park's troops was Seoul's central broadcasting station. He once thought he could achieve his objective by associating with communists.

Because of his communist activities the army, he was sentenced to death, but Park pleaded for his life by telling the details of the communist organizations and telling the names of his communist friends. He received a dishonorable discharge from the army, but continued working for the army intelligence agency as a civilian employee. I can write a book about Park Chung-Hee, but let me stop here.

The head of the army investigation team was Col. Paik Sun-Yup. He also came from the Manchu army. After August 15 (1945), he came back to his hometown Pyongyang and worked as an assistant to Cho Man-Shik who was a widely-respected nationalist. Stalin wanted to make Cho the ruler of North Korea as his puppet, and sent his messenger called Kim Young-Hwan to Cho several times. Paik used to arrange meetings of Cho Man-Shik with Kim Young-Hwan. Cho refused to cooperate with Stalin and disappeared from the world (we still do not know what happened to him). On October 14, 1945, Kim Young-Hwan changed his name to Kim Il-Sung and gave his triumph speech, which was written at the communist party headquarters in Moscow and was translated by a Korean poet in Pyongyang.

Paik Sun-Yup was a staunch anti-communist and led his army investigation effectively. Like Chung Il-Kwon, he became promoted to one-star general and became the the commander of the First Division guarding Seoul from the Kaesong front. In October, 1950, his division consisting of foot soldiers reached Pyongyang before the First Cavalry Division of the U.S. Army with more than more than one thousand motor vehicles. He still gets invited to ceremonies held in the U.S. commemorating the events of the Korean War.

Both Chung Il-Kwon and Paik Sun-Yup were young men at that time about 30 years old. They became the two most important persons in the Korean army. They praised each other publicly but they were bitter personal rivals. Rhee Seungman took advantage of this rivalry to control the Korean army.

Kim Sam-Yong, Lee Joo-Ha, and Kim Chang Yong

Y.S.Kim (2003.10.5)

As I said before, the Korean communist movement has its origin in anti-colonialism during the Japanese occupation. Before 1945, those anti-colonialists were at the same time nationalists. They did not know they were communists, except their leaders like Park Hun-Young and Lee Hyun-Sang who were dedicated Marxists.

After 1945, Americans in the South were not very successful in convincing Koreans that they are different from Japanese imperialists. They seem to have a similar problem in Iraq these days. This was the most serious problem for the pro-American government headed by Rhee Seungman. Thus, the communists were able to exploit the nationalism and anti-colonialism.

The most prominent communist was Park Hun-Young, who organized the Korean Communist Party which later became the South Korean Labor Party, known to us as "Nam-Ro-Dang." This was the strongest political party at that time, and this is the only party whose name is still mentioned.

Those communists were in control of the largest printing company in Seoul called Jung-Pan-Sa. They not only printed their propaganda leaflets but also money, enough money to cause a severe inflation. As a result, in May of 1946, the U.S. military government issued an arrest warrant against Park Hun-Young. Instead of surrendering to American authorities, Park fled Seoul in a hearse car, and went to Pyongyang. After spending a brief period in Haeju (do you know where this city is?), Park established a guerrilla training center in the city of Kang-Dong (south of Pyongyang).

There he used to issue orders to the communists in the South. While Park was absent in the South, the Park's party, Nam-Ro-Dang, was led by two communists named Kim Sam-Yong and Lee Joo-Ha. Before 1945, Kim worked with Park in a brick factory in Kwangju. Lee Joo-Ha studied at Nihon University in Tokyo and was a labor-union activist before 1945. Ham-Heung (in the North) was his home base, but he came to the South to work with Park Hung-Young. They had to run and hide after Rhee Seungman's police started arresting communists toward the end of 1947. They were in charge of communist terrorist activities throughout the country.

Americans these days are looking for Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Likewise, the Korean police and the army special team were chasing Kim Sam-Yong and Lee Joo-Ha day and night. They were caught in March of 1950 and sentenced to death in May. On June 28 (1950), the day before the North Korean tanks occupied Seoul, these two communists were brought to the Han River sand beach and shot to death.

Was Rhee Seungman the worst enemy of the Nam-Ro-Dang? No! Their worst enemy was Kim Il-Sung. Those communists in the South gave enthusiastic cooperation to the North Korean army and political officers when they came down to the South, but the North Koreans thoroughly eliminated their communist comrades when they fled. In order to eliminate his communist rival, Park Hun-Young, he had to destroy his party. There are some people in the South who claim to have been anti-communist because they were once arrested by the North Korean communists for elimination, but this claim is not necessarily valid.

The army officer who was responsible for arresting Kim Sam-Yong and Lee Joo-Ha was Captain Kim Chang-Yong. I talked about him before. He was Kempei Kojo (military police sargent in the Japanese army) stationed in Manchu. He was arrested by Soviet authorities when he came to his home in Hamheung. Kim killed the Soviet interrogator by hitting him with his chair. He came to the South and joined the Korean army.

After his arrest of Kim Sam-Yong and Lee Joo-Ha, he became Rhee Seungman's favorite boy and became in charge of looking for anyone attempting to take over Rhee's position. Because of his special connection to Rhee, Kim became quite reckless and made many enemies in the army. In 1956, he was assassinated by his army colleagues. The person who engineered his assassination was Lt.General Kang Mun-Bong. He received a death sentence but his sentence was reduced by Rhee to life-time imprisonment. He stayed in jail until the 4.19 revolution in 1960.

I met Kang Mun-Bong in Washington in 1963, and heard many interesting stories from him. He was known as the brain of the Korean army and served as the house wizard for Gen. Chung Il-Kwon. Chung was the army chief when Kim Chang-Yong was assassinated. However, Rhee ordered the four-star generals not to be investigated. Chung denied his involvement in the assassination plot, but nobody believed him. In his memoir, Chung indirectly admitted that he was aware of the plot.

Many people say Kim Chang-Yong engineered the assassination of Kim Koo. This is not true. In 1949, he was a very young officer and was not high enough to be given this duty. The chief of this operation was Major Chang En-San, who was the commander of the artillery corps. Chang went to the United States immediately after Kim Koo's death, but came back to Pusan in July of 1950, during the Korean War. Chang did some reckless things there, and was arrested by Kim Chang-Yong. He was shot to death in Daegu.

To sum up, Rhee Seungman was a world-class politician. He knew he had to control the army in order to maintain his regime. We have to agree that he was quite successful in this regard.

Lessons from Rhee

Y.S.Kim (2003.10.15)

I have written many articles about how the Korean army was set up, and how Rhee Seungman was able to establish his control over the army. I will next talk about the quarrels he had with the National Assembly.

Many people ask me why I am so intensely interested in Dr. Rhee. I gave them my answer before, but I will give the answer again.

First. He knew how to deal with the United States. Americans did not like him, but he was able to think ahead of the U.S. policy makers. By "thinking ahead" with a vision, he was able to take advantage of the power of the United States.

Second. Rhee never got along with the National Assembly, but he was always the winner after each quarrel.

My job is not running a country, but I am ultimately responsible for defending and disseminating the scientific results I produced from my research efforts. It was not an easy job. Without lessons from Rhee, it was not possible for me to reach where I am now.

For instance, as Rhee was unwelcome to Americans, I was condemned by Princeton. For instance, when Princeton edited their complete collection of Wigner's works, they excluded the papers Wigner wrote with me. However, these days, I became the spokesman not only for Wigner but also of Princeton. My physics colleagues in the world learn about Princeton from me. They say my stories are more interesting than the images of the ladies. In a recent article addressed to the world, I explained why Einstein chose Princeton for his home in the United States. I recently reorganized my wisdom site. It now contains more information than before. You may visit my stories page. You will see that most of the stories there are about Princeton.

Why do I need Princeton? Is is because of Brooke Shields? No! My research results can only be interpreted as further contents of Einstein's E= mc^{2}. I am proud to say that some of the crucial results in my program were obtained in collaboration with my Korean colleagues. In order to make the results acceptable to the world, I need a Princeton base. My Maryland base is not enough. Einstein invented this energy-mass or energy-momentum relation in 1905. It is becoming 100 years old. I now have a conference machine as well as a communication network for making make my case to the world.

In my later articles, I will tell you what lessons I learned from the way Rhee was handling the National Assembly.

National Assembly

Y.S.Kim (2003.10.20)

The Korean government was set up initially by a UN-supervised election held on May 10, 1948. The job of the UN Commission was to create a two- year-term national assembly. The purpose of this Assembly was to draw up and adopt the constitution and go home. However, the UN plan did not specify who was going to provide the administration of the country during this period.

From the Korean point of view, Koreans needed their own government as early as possible. This was not a serious problem, because the president was decided to be Rhee Seungman, while not many Koreans had a clear understanding of the role of the National Assembly. This was true for the elected members of the Assembly.

Thus, the conflict between Rhee and the Assembly was inevitable. Instead of the badly needed land reform bill, the Assembly took up the issue of the constitutional revision including the extension of their own term from two years to four. They thought Rhee was too powerful, and took up the issue of cabinet-responsible system. Korean constantly talk about this issue.

We often say Rhee did not set a good example for democracy, but I have to say that those Assembly people were much worse. They had absolutely no notion of their responsibility toward the people who elected them, while the people did not know what to expect from their assembly men. The job those assembly people was to make money and elevate the status of their family. What an honor to marry an assembly man's son or daughter? Unfortunately, this tradition is still alive and well in Korea.

I discussed enough in my earlier articles about the first Assembly. In summary, Rhee was powerful enough to put down the revolts from the assembly men until their two-year term was over in 1950. There was the second assembly election on May 30, 1950, for a four-year term. This second assembly once attempted to push out Rhee from his office in 1952. I will talk about the political crisis of 1952 next time.

I will be leaving for Chicago tomorrow to attend a conference. I will then drive to Urbana over the weekend to meet with Richard Underwood whose grandfather was the first Presbeterrian missionary to Korea. Why is he dear tp me? Richard was born in Seoul and used to spend his summer months in Sorae where I spent first eleven years of my life. I met his elder brothers before, but it will be my first time to see him. I have many things to say about the history of Christianity in Korea, and I will collect more information from my meeting with him.

Changing Environment

Y.S.Kim (2003.10.23)

I am now in Chicago attending a conference. In this area, there are many people of Polish origin. Yesterday, I went to a Polish restaurant and enjoyed Polish food and talking with Polish ladies. I can talk to them easily because I know about their country. Two of those came from Zakopane (Poland), and I have been there. The city of Warsaw is now my favorite stop-over place when I go to Europe. I intend to spend a weekend of Nov. 28 - 30 in Warsaw. In July of 2005, I will be holding the 9th Wigner Symposium in Poznan (Poland) in commemoration of 100th year of Einstein's E = mc2.

Why is Poland so dear to me? Like Korea, Poland is surrounded by big countries. Poland's big brothers constantly tell Polish people what to do. Thus, those Polish people developed their own culture to adjust themselves to changing circumstances. For instance, Poland sent troops to Iraq with the ultimate purpose of doing good business with Americans.

Korea's environment also changes constantly. China used to be one of the evil countries to Koreans, but it is now a very friendly country because there is a great business potential there.

During the year 1948-50, there was a big change in China. The pro- Western government headed by Chiang Kai-Shek was kicked out of the Chinese mainland. On October of 1949, Mao Ze-Dong declared that China be the Peeples Replic of China under the Chinese Communist Party he established earlier. Though the Chinese communists were very hostile to Chiang Kai-Shek and his government, their policy toward the West appeared to be very ambiguous. For instance, in less than one month, China established a diplomatic relation with Britain. This created a great confusion among politicians in Washington.

The emergence of the communist power in the Asian mainland and the confusion in Washington were factors in Korea's National Assembly election of 1950.

The year 1949 was a really bad year for Korea, especially for those pro-American politicians. In 1949, Stalin's Soviet Union successfully tested their first nuclear bomb. The United States withdrew its combat troops from Korea, leaving behind only 500 military advisors. During the fiscal year 1948-49, the U.S. provided the economic assistance of $150 million, but a similar assistance program for the year 1949-50 was rejected by the U.S. Congress.

To make things worse, Dean Acheson (then the secretary of state) forgot to include Korea while mentioning the Asian countries to be protected by the United States in January of 1950.

These events brought added burden on Rhee's pro-American government. Next time, I will talk about the result of the 1950 election held on May 30.

Boston Marathon of 1950

Y.S.Kim (2003.10.28)

In Korea, those who make real contributions to the country are often the least privileged people. Not many sports people come from rich or upper-class families. Yet, sportswise, Korea is one of the strongest countries in the world.

There are two reasons. One was the 1936 Berlin Olympiad. There, as you know, a Korean runner named Sohn Kee-Chung won the marathon gold medal. Another reason is that Japanese authorities gave privileges to gymnastics teachers in Korean high schools. They were not drafted to their army. Instead, through sports, their job was to brain-wash young Koreans to their Yamato-Tamashi (spirit of Japan). Japanese have a firm belief that only healthy body can lead to healthy spirit. (Mubyo-no karata ni mubyo-no kokoro, in Japanese). When I meet young Japanese these days, I tell them I have Yamato-Tamashi, while they do not. They agree and laugh.

After 1936, Sohn became a symbol of Korean nationalism. He was constantly followed by Japanese Kempei (military police). Instead of being entertained as a national hero, he concentrated his efforts on training young Koreans to become marathon runners, using Yang-Jung High School as a home base. Sohn studied there. Among my physics colleagues, Kim Seung-Hwan of Postech and Cho Dong-Hyun of Korea University studied at Yang-Jung. They are good people.

Sohn's training was also rigorous. For instance, while he was having a dinner with his trainees, he found out that his favorite pupil was going out with a girl. This was strictly forbidden at that time, especially during the training period. Sohn stood up and asked him to stand up also, and then slapped him repeatedly until the boy fell down.

Thanks to Sohn's tireless efforts, three Koreans boys won the first, second, and third places at the Boston marathon competition in April of 1950. Their names were Ham Kiyong, Song Kilyoon, and Choi Yoonchil respectively. Three Korean flags in the Boston sky! This was the happiest day for all Koreans since August 15, 1945. Ham Kiyong was the person who was punished so thoroughly by Sohn during the dinner I mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

In 1951, Korea was not able to send anyone to Boston. You should know why. The Boston winner in that year was Tanaka Shikeki from Japan. Sohn Kee-Chung sent him a telegram saying


It is easy to send Japanese messages in Alphabet because their letters consist of only 51 syllables. The message says "I regard Mr. Tanaka's victory as Asia's victory. Please accept my hearty congratulations." This telegram is now in one of the sports museums in Japan. Sohn's international name is Son Kitei, as engraved in the Olympic monument in Berlin.

Tonight, I was going to talk about the 5.30 election held in 1950, but I have chosen this pleasant topic. Last Saturday (October 25), in Urbana, Illinois, I had a lunch with Richard Underwood, one of the grandsons of the first American missionary to Korea. I wanted to talk about pleasant moments in Korea and started talking about the 1950 Boston Marathon. He became very happy and told me he served as an escort for the Korean team who had to travel to a strange place called Boston. The team included Sohn Kee-Chung, Korean runners, and several supporting persons. Those Koreans could not speak English. Richard Underwood was very happy to tell me that he and the Korean team went to his brother's house in upper New York state for rest after the great event in Boston.

Reappearance of Moktan Cars

Y. S. Kim (2003.11.1)

During the Pacific War (1941-45), Japanese did not have petroleum. They used charcoals to power their automobiles. When charcoal burns, it emits gas first, and the gas burns. The idea was to put in the charcoal gas to the engine cylinders before burning. Koreans used to call those charcoal-powered cars "moktan cha."

When the U.S. troops were in Korea, Koreans manages to smuggle out appropriate amounts of gasoline from the U.S. military bases. However, after the U.S. troops left in July of 1949, Korea had no petroleum resources. Korea did not have money to import petroleum products. Thus, Koreans had to resort to those charcoal-powered moktan cars. Most of Korean cars were powered by moktan engines until the 6.25 day in 1950. In economy wise, Korea was a dying country.

This was not a good sign for Rhee Seungman's pro-American regime. To make things worse, the assassination of Kim Koo in June of 1949 and the failure of the government to deliver death sentence to Ahn Doo-Hee, the assassin, did not make a strong moral case to the people. Indeed, Korean voters in May of 1950 were very sympathetic to the Kim Koo followers.

In addition, as I said in one of the earlier articles, the China became communist, and the Soviet Union became a nuclear power. The secretary of state of the U.S. did not include Korea on the list of the Asian countries to be protected by the United State.

These factors led to a disastrous result in the National Assembly election held on May 30, 1950. Compared with the voter participation of 95% in the 1948 election, only 73 % of the voters participated in the 5.30 election of 1950. This is a clear indication of the voter disappointment on the performance of their National Assembly.

To make thing worse, some heavy-weight pro-Americans lost their elections against the Kim Koo followers. For instance, pro-American Cho Byung-Ok lost election to Cho So-Ang in the Sung-buk district in Seoul. Yoon Chi-Young, another pro-American heavy, lost to Won Se-Hoon in Seoul's Chung-Ku district. Those Kim Koo supporters were not pro-communists, but they were not pro-American either.

Even politically, Rhee's pro-American government was dying. While this was going on there were two persons who watched these events carefully. One was Joseph Stalin and the other was Kim Il-Sung. Less than one month after the 5.30 election, the Soviet-made T-34 Stalin tanks crossed the 38th parallel. On June 25, 1950, what had to come simply came.

Of course, the United States had enough resources to prevent the Korean war, and one can construct a theory that the U.S. induced the Korean War, from the series of events which took place from 1948 to 1950. There are a number of American scholars who insist on this theory, and many young Koreans blindly believe what their respected Americans say. They are wrong. The problem is more fundamental. Even these days, American foreign policy is heavily influenced by the isolationism inherited from George Washington. Korea, even long after the Korean War, was an unknown place to Americans. You cannot expect a consistent American policy toward the place totally unknown to them.

Korea became known to Americans only after Chung Chu-Young started selling his cars to Americans. Before 1945, Chung used to repair those moktan cars.

Shin Sung-Mo

Y.S.Kim (2003.11.4)

The Korean government started with the cabinet ministers widely respected in their own fields. For instance, the eduction minister was Ahn Hosang. He was widely envied and respected because he had a doctoral degree from Germany. However, did they have enough administrative experience to run their respective ministries? The answer is largely No. Nothing worked properly. Rhee Seungman grew impatient and had to replace his ministers one by one. The agricultural minister was not able to deliver enough rice, and had to go. There were continued communist insurgencies in the armed forces. The defense minister had to go. There were corruptions in licensing procedures in the ministry of commerce and industry, and the minister had to go.

While this confusion was going on, there was a newspaper report that one important Korean was coming home from Britain. I do not know what the exact wording was, but Koreans thought he was the commander of one of the British navy fleets. His name was Shin Sung-Mo. As soon as he arrived, the Korean navy dispatched a security team him in order to protect him.

I do not know all Koreans, but people say I know many. I never met North Korea's Kim Il-Sung, but I know at least three Koreans who knew Kim Il-Sung personally. However, I do not know anyone who knew Shin Sung-Mo before coming to Korea. Likewise, Shin was a mystery man totally unknown to Koreans. Because he had a navy background, Koreans expected that he could build a strong navy for Korea, as Admiral Yi Soon-Shin did. I do not know the exact date, but Shin became the minister of internal affairs replacing Yoon Chi-Young. This surprised everybody. While being a total stranger to Koreans, how could he lead the internal affairs? Among the cabinet ministers, the internal-affairs man occupied the highest position at that time, next only to the prime minister. How could he move up that high so suddenly?

The internal affairs ministry was in charge of the national police and appointing provincial governors. Shin used to make surprise visits to agencies under his control. He appeared to be very humane when he ordered prison administrators to improve sanitary conditions for all prisoners.

Soon after, Shin became the defense minister and acting prime minister. The National Assembly refused to confirm Rhee's appointment of Shin as the prime minister. You can see his photo on my Korean-background page (click on Korea's recent history). He is standing next to John Foster Dulles at the 38th parallel one week before the 6.25 day. Quite contrary to what is known today, Shin was honest enough in the morning of June 28 (1950) to admit the total defeat of the Korean army, and to announce that the government was moving to Suwon.

However, Shin made two worst decisions during the Korean war, perhaps the two worst atrocities committed by the Rhee Seungman regime. One was the National Defence Force, and the other was the Keochang massacre. I will talk about these incidents next time. These tragic events tell us about Shin's true character. It is not uncommon for a soft-spoken gentle man to be a ruthless butcher-like character. Shin was such a man. Based on my study of his character, I concluded in one of my earlier articles that Shin was the man who ordered the assassination of Kim Koo. He was like Stalin's Beria.

Mystery of Shin Sung-Mo

Y.S.Kim (2003.11.7)

It is very unfortunate for Rhee Seungman to have Shin Sung-Mo as the defense minister and the acting prime minister during the crucial period 1949-51. Though not many people knew about Shin, Rhee was in a position to know Shin's background. Perhaps this is the reason why he was hired.

Not many people know where he was born. I do not know anything about his family background, except that he later had a mistress named Kim Young Hwi (professor at Ewha University) about 20 years younger than he was. I remember seeing them together in Chinhae. Still Shin remains as a mystery man to Koreans and to Korean history.

Here is what I know about him. When he was young, he studied at Posung Professional School (which later became Korea University). He then went to Shanghai to study at a merchant marine school, and got a job on a British cargo ship as an accountant. Unlike Westerners, he knew how to operate abacus (joopan). Because the ship was sailing around the world, he came to New York from time to time. He then used to hang around with Koreans. There were not many Koreans in New York with stable jobs before 1945, and Shin was admired. The Koreans knew what Shin's exact job was, but he was called "Caption" for simplicity. The word "Captain" became expanded to the captain of a British fleet.

Shin therefore had three opportunities to meet Rhee Seungman. First, Rhee Seungman was a professor at Posung right after he got his PhD degree in 1910. It is possible that Shin met him there. Second, Rhee spent a year or two in Shanghai as the president of the provisional government (1920-21). It is possible that Shin met Rhee in Shanghai. Third, Shin could have met Rhee while visiting New York.

As an accountant, Shin's strength was to understand the flow of money. As far as money matters are concerned, it was Rhee's wife, called Madam Francesca, who was in control. Unlike other politicians, Shin could speak fluent English and could talk directly to the Madam. Francesca's father was a successful businessman in Austria, and she had a good family training in money flow.

Let us look at history. Joseph in the Old Testament became prominent because he was attracted by an Egyptian general's wife. China's An Lyushan (Ahn Lok San) became strong because he was close to one of the Emperor's wives called Yang Kwee-Hui (Yang Kwi-bi). I can list many more, but let me stop here. You can trust that I did some research along this line. You will recall that I once said I know about many prominent Koreans because I know their daughters.

I explained above how Shin Sung-Mo reached the position of power so rapidly in the Rhee's government. How about with the National Assembly? Because he was known to have an exceptional talent in naval affairs (as the captain of a British fleet), the National Assembly invited him to hear about Shin's plan for unification. Shin brought with him a big Korean map. He then said he would borrow two cruisers from the United States, one for the East Sea and the other on the West Sea. While those ships provide naval bombardments on the North Korean coasts, the Korean army would charge ahead with bayoneted rifles. Koreans were quite familiar with the Japanese "Dotsugeki" (dolgyuk) tactics, which was highly admired. But the story of combining Dotsugeki with naval gun supports was quite new to them. The assembly men's were quite impressed.

It is not uncommon even these days for prominent Koreans to exaggerate their foreign background. Quite recently, there was a candidate for the prime minister who claimed that her secretary did not accurately wrote down her academic background. She studied at Princeton Theological Seminary but she recorded her degree as that from Princeton University. Of course she was wrong, but the blame should be shared by those who accept the falsification.

In 1949, the assembly men were very stupid to be impressed by Shin's military fiction. How about our Korean scientists these days? The story is about the same. This is the reason why the Korean government often spend huge sums of money for nothing.

Rhee's Science Fictions

Y.S.Kim (2003.11.11)

Rhee Seungman's science background was less than zero, but this was and still is very common among poiticians. Yet, he was keenly interested in producing scientific miracles. He was interested in devloping seeds for seedless watermellons. I assume Korea now produces seedless watermellons.

Rhee was also interested in developing perpetual motion: the engine which can run without energy input. This idea was so dear to him that he kept a secret lab in his presidential mansion to build a perpetual engine. How do I know this? One of Rhee's body guards came from my hometown, and he used to come to my house often. He knew I was interested in science and used to ask me whether perpetual motion is possible.

In my previous article, I mentioned a military fiction created by Shin Sung-Mo. He created another military fiction called "National Defence Corps (Kook-min Bang-Wi Goon) during the Korean War period. I will talk about this comedic tragedy next time. Tonight, I would like to talk about a scientific fiasco for which Shin Sung-Mo was largely responsible.

During the Korean war, the Korean navy used American-built ships. Those ships and Korean navy men went to the American naval bases in Japan for maintenance services. Korean navy officers used to bring goodies made in Japan as gifts for their wives and children. They also had to bring expensive gifts for their superiors. The gift items included Canon cameras and shiny bicyles which are beyond the reach of even high-class Koreans. One of them brought a very valuable intelligence information and reported to Shin Sung-Mo who was the defense minister at that time.

I talked about this incident in one of my earlier articles. I will attach this article tonight because, even these days, Korea's science policies are not different from the science fiction created by Rhee and Shin in 1951. Please continue reading.

Lessons from Rhee's H-bomb Project

Y.S.Kim (1995.11.19)

When I was in junior high school, I had a "high-tech" skill of repairing radio sets, and I used to fix radios for some "high-class" people in Korea. They did not pay me money, but they praised me as the scientist who would build Korea's first atom bomb. Ridiculous, but not so ridiculous in view of the Ben Lee phenomenon 40 years later.

Due to the War, I lived in Chinhae from July of 1950 to August of 1951. One day in the spring of 1951, the assistant to the Commander of the Chinhae Naval Base came to me with his jeep and told me that I had to go somewhere. I assumed that the radio set in the Commander's house broke down, but the jeep went into a secret lab within the naval base heavily guarded by machine guns.

In the lab, I met two naval officers. One was a grey-haired colonel (called captain in navy) and a young major (called lt. commander in navy). The grey-haired scientist was called Lee Yong Dae, but he could speak only Japanese. I do not remember the name of the young scientist, but I remember his face. He was Prof. Lee Tong Nyong (now at Pohang Univ.). He thought I was hopeless and asked me whether I could understand what was going on. I said No.

The navy officer who took me there told me that I should look at the lab very carefully but should not tell anyone about my visit there. Korean authorities thought the lab was a hydrogen bomb factory, and that the future bomb maker like myself should be briefed about the project. Hard to believe? In general, the readers of my articles regard me as an honest person.

The story goes like this. During the 6.25 War, some Korean naval ships received their maintenance services in the U.S. naval bases in Japan. Thus, Korean authorities were able to gather "reliable" intelligence information about Japan from the naval officers who went there frequently. One day, President Rhee Seung-Man received an intelligence report that there is in Japan a scientist who knows how to make hydrogen bombs, but his talent is not recognized in the U.S.-occupied Japan. Rhee immediately ordered his Navy Chief of Staff to bring (illegally) the Japanese scientist to Korea, and make hydrogen bombs. That was how the above-mentioned secret lab was built within the Chinhae Naval Base. This happened before the United Sates tested the first hydrogen bomb in 1952.

Korean authorities knew the word hydrogen, but did not know the difference between atomic ionization and nuclear fusion. The hydrogen atom can be separated from the water molecule, and Japanese once thought they could use so-separated hydrogen for aircraft fuel. The grey-haired Japanese scientist was an expert on ionization, not on fusion. Thus, he was able to make car batteries, not the hydrogen bomb. It was Prof. Lee Tong Nyong who explained this to the authorities. Fortunately, the hydrogen bomb factory later became a battery-making factory. This was how Korea's first profitable battery factory was built.

In 1987 in Los Angeles, I met the man (former navy intelligence officer) who in 1951 submitted the intelligence report about the hydrogen bomb to the Office of the President. I asked him whether he was still in intelligence business. He did not answer my question (perhaps usual habit of intelligence people). One year later, I read his article published in one of the Korean newspapers in the U.S. Alas! He said there that the project was indeed a bomb project.

This incident teaches us many lessons.

First. We cannot blame Rhee Seung-Man for not knowing anything about science. He was a politician. Quite contrary to what our young people say these days, he was thoroughly anti-Japanese. Yet, he thought we had to "steal" science and technology from Japan. He had enough political guts to "kidnap" a Japanese citizen to Korea. Indeed, Rhee's idea had a very profound influence on me in dealing with Japanese. I became intensely interested in Japan after learning about Rhee's "romantic" venture. I hope to be able to tell you someday how I tried to imitate Rhee in designing my own research program.

Second. It is not an easy task for authorities to make sound scientific judgments. The ill-fated U.S. SSC project tells the story. It is not always clear to me whether Korea's decision-making processes these days are any better than the process which led to Rhee's hydrogen bomb project in 1951. I still think the first priority should be given to the investment in science education. We need more professors to reduce teaching loads on our young scientists. Otherwise, we cannot compete with Japan.

Third. The above-mentioned hydrogen bomb expert apparently was not a respected scientist in Japan. There are these days foreign scientists who come to Korea and get treated like prophets. Before inviting them, we should examine carefully how much they are respected in their own countries. If a foreign scientist wants to hold a conference in Korea, it is a good idea to check if he/she has a record of holding a conference in his/her home turf.

Fourth. Our relation with Japan will become more complicated in the future. As I said before, we should understand them if we are to produce sound policies toward them. After I started talking about Japan, I received mails from a number of people saying that they have many Japanese friends. If they know about Japan, and if I know about Japan, we should combine our knowledge, instead of quarreling over who is Korea's "No. 1" expert on Japan.

Quo Vadis

Y.S.Kim (2003.12.2)

I upset many Koreans by saying directly what I have in mind. Indeed, this is the only way I can talk since otherwise there is no point of talking. Some of them told me I sound like a person without culture. Then, am I totally incapable of indirect talking? Here is my answer.

Last Saturday (November 29), I revisited Warsaw's Lazienkowski Park. I was there in 1995 to attend a Chopin concert in front of a huge statue of Frederick Chopin. Because of this statue, the park is widely known as the Chopin Park. Koreans like Chopin's music.

This time, on the same park ground, I found a statue of another person. His name is Henryk Sienkiewicz. I was so happy to find his name that I had to have a photo there. Indeed, I brought enough photos from Poland to create a special section on Polish ladies on my ladies page.

Who is Sienkiewicz? Not many Koreans know about him, but one of the books he wrote is very familiar to Koreans. He is the author of "Quo Vadis." For this, Sienkiewicz received the 1905 Nobel prize in literature. I asked what Quo Vadis means to one of Ehwa University graduates. She said it is a great romance (love) story, but most Koreans say Quo Vadis is about the history of Christianity. They are right, but how did it bring a Nobel prize to Poland? In Quo Vadis, Sienkiewicz was addressing his Polish nationalism with a great indirect logic.

From 1795 to 1919, Poland was divided into three colonies occupied by Austria, Prussia, and Russia. Warsaw was under Russian occupation. Koreans constantly complain about Japanese occupation which lasted for 35 years. You can imagine how harsh Russian rulers were in Poland. By indicting Nero of Rome, Sienkiewicz was indicting the ruthless Russian rulers in Poland. He was of course predicting the eventual triumph of Poland. The Quo Vadis is a great indirect logic.

How did I know this? Did any Polish lady tell me about this? No. I found out this from my own experience in my physics research. In my earlier articles, I told you how I went through the Dashen-Frautschi fiasco in 1966. There, I was a Korean and Dashen was a genius. In the research world, being right is not enough. You have to go through a very imperfect society or a society of Herods.

Since then, I had to publish papers in journals controlled by the group of physicists very hostile to me. The only way to publish my papers was to pretend that I am less smart than those whom I do not respect. Yet, I was able to manage all of my research results and claims. I was an indirect speaker of some degree, and Poland's Sienkiewicz has been my hero. In Quo Vadis, Sienkiewicz predicts the eventual triumph of Polish people. I am not big enough to talk about a triumph of Koreans, but I can think about my own triumph.

For more than 30 years, I have been saying that Einstein's special relativity, formulated for point particles, can be extended to the inside of relativistic particles, such as protons, neutrons and electrons, and I managed to publish all the results and claims using my indirect logic.

These days, there is a group of American physicists who claim to be smarter than Einstein, and the American public media seem to entertain them. They appear on TV screens and claim that the theory they are developing will eventually solve the mystery of the inside-world of relativistic particles. Have they solved the problem? Not yet, but they are going to!

Indeed, they are creating an environment in which I can make my case. I went to Poland in order to finalize the preparation for the 9th Wigner Symposium to be held there in 2005. I hope to be able to make my case in Poland, one hundred years after Einstein formulated his theory of relativity. I repeat. The author of Quo Vadis is my hero. He was a great indirect speaker.

Koreans prone to American Ideas yet to work

Y.S.Kim (2003.12.4)

Some people complained to me that my previous mail contains a story about a single individual, myself, and has nothing to do with Korean scientists. Fine, I will then talk about other Koreans.

The life of American scientists depend largely on how much money they can get from governmental agencies. If they cannot produce desired scientific results, they have to either retire or get government money by whatever means possible to prolong their scientific lives.

America's fusion project is a case in point. After Hiroshima's nuclear bomb, scientists were able to construct nuclear power generating techniques, and about one third of Korea's electric power comes from nuclear reactors. As soon as Americans started developing the hydrogen bomb in 1948, they had an idea of transforming the hydrogen-bomb energy into electrical energy which can light American houses and power the U.S. industry. Princeton University was one of the largest recipients of government funding for this ambitious project, often called "fusion" project. In the past, many bright Koreans were involved in this project.

After 30 years of research, the conclusion was that controlled fusion might be possible, but it is not possible to produce more energy than the energy that has to be put in to drive the fusion device. However, they could give up the government funding, and they kept promising to come up with a machine which can generate more energy than input. They were very skilful in convincing the U.S. Congress for continued funding. But the outcome was quite clear. The fusion research is still continuing but in a modest scale without economic illusions.

When Kim Young-Sam was the president of Korea, he had a genius minister of science and technology who could produce an economically feasible fusion device. In my opinion, this genius science minister is not a serious scientist. He developed a religion based on the publicity campaign staged by American scientists. With the government money, this science minister created a number of comic tragedies in the 1990s, comparable to the Rhee's hydrogen project of 1951 which I talked about in one of my earlier articles.

The tragedy is that this science minister is not alone in developing a religion from American publicity. In the 90s, Korean students in physics had a Weinberg religion. They refused to talk with me because they only wanted to talk to Steven Weinberg, even though I had the same thesis advisor as Weinberg at Princeton. I was and still am in a position to know about Weinberg. These days, the string model is the religion for young Korean scientists. I asked one of them whether the string model is more important than Jesus, because he calls himself a devoted Christian. He said the string model is as important as Jesus. To him, the string model is a religion.

In my previous mail, I said there is a group of American physicists who claim that they are going to solve the problem Einstein could not. I was talking about those working on the string model or string theory. They are OK with me because I need some people who claim to be smarter than Einstein. However, for Koreans, the string theory is becoming a religion. Since I was asked to talk about Koreans other than myself, I talked about other Koreans. Fortunately, I was not able to talk about all Koreans.

Clarence Zener on Energy Crisis

Y.S.Kim (2003.12,16)

I am writing this article in response to an e-mail received from a Korean graduate student studying at the Fusion Laboratory of Princeton University. He is responding to a harsh comment I made on fusion research programs. His letter is well written and is included in this mail for your information.

His letter deals with the question of how we are going to solve the energy problem after we use up all fossil fuels. I am not big enough to answer this question. But, this question was debated in the early 1970s.

Clarence Zener was the inventor of the Zener diode. He lived and worked in Pittsburgh while I was an undergraduate student at Carnegie Institute of Technology (1954-8). I never met him, but I knew his son. He was brilliant but was very humble and friendly. He was particularly friendly to me. This is the reason why I have a very high opinion of his father.

Clarence Zener was the president of the American Physical Society or a similar influential Gamtu around 1970. As early as that time, the American scientific community was in agreement on the point that the fusion program was not going to deliver the promised energy supply. This created a psychological energy crisis. At that time, Zener's answer to this question was that the real crisis is not in energy, but in brains. If we lack energy, this is due to our lack of brains.

It is not difficult to figure out interim solutions to this problem for Americans. Until new resources are found, save the energy. This was the national energy policy during the Ford and Carter administrations (1975-80). However, Carter became very unpopular because he demanded Americans to save energy. He even mentioned rationing of petroleum.

As a consequence, Ronald Reagan and Republicans came into the administration in 1980. Since then, the president's main job has been to find more petroleum resources and supply cheap energy to Americans. This process is still continuing. It is generally agreed that Americans went to Iraq for this energy purpose.

Let us look at the Roman empire. The energy for the empire was came from slave labors. Thus, Roman army had to push the boundary outward to capture more slaves. The United States is doing the same thing. Instead of slaves, the U.S. president has to bring more oils to the United States.

I am not an expert in this business. Russia's republic of Tatarstan is known to contain more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia. Likewise, there are still many untapped oil resources in the world. Keep finding and keep drilling. Is this the ultimate energy solution?

My answer to this question is No. I agree with Clarence Zener. Our energy crisis is the brain crisis. This means that we need more research, including fusion research. In the meantime, we should learn how to save. When I was a student in Korea, I use to sharpen pencils with knife. After I came to the U.S. I started using hand-cranked pencil sharpeners. I still use my hand to crank my 30-year old sharpener in my office. These days, young people are not strong enough to crank the sharpener with hand. It has to be driven by electric power.

Likewise, in research, we should use more brain power. Instead of using their brains, many of American scientists demand more money whenever they face difficult problems in research. Clarence Zener was right. The energy crisis is due to our refusal to use brains.

Of course, I am not preaching what I cannot practice. It is generally agreed in my own professional community that I am one of the most active persons in research and research-related activities. How much money did I receive from the governmental funding agencies? The answer is a very simple number, namely zero. Thus, whatever I do is a product of my brain, my Korean brain. OK?

Please continue reading.

Letter from a Korean student

From sson@Princeton.EDU Mon Dec 15 00:56:03 2003
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 17:16:51 -0500 (EST)
From: Seunghyeon Son
Subject: Question.

Dear Professor Kim,

This is Seunghyeon Son, a graduate student in Princeton plasma physics lab, the fusion lab.

First of all, I have to tell you that I am a fan of your essays, which are quite interesting and also very informative.

In the last article, you mentioned about the fusion project of America and Korea. Even as a member of the fusion research, I have to agree the most of your point of view. Even myself are not quite sure whether the fusion in Lab will be economically feasible in the end.

However, given the fact that I am already into the fusion research and doing it for my living because, in my opinion, it is still worthy of the intense trial, I was always curious about the opinion outside the fusion community, especially from highly educated people who know enough fusion physics to be able to form thought-through opinion. I think myself the opinion from the fusion community is highly biased in favor of the fusion.

Specifically, I would like to hear from you about the energy problem. The attempt to replace the existent energy source and thus all sorts of problems caused by it is, and will be, one of the biggest reserach subject becuase of its strong agenda. I guess, everybody will agree this research is very important. The question is, where do we have to invest to try or achieve this goal? There are a lot of research going on to find the alternative energy source or reduce the damage caused such as pollution. Do you have some vision about on this subject? For example, in what aspect do you think we have to put the priority or what can be the replacement of oil?

Another question is about "the fusion", It seems to me that not many people outside the fusion community are happy about the fusion research. This is completely understandable becuase the fusion community could not keep the promise they made 50 years ago. However that doesn't mean that we have to stop funding the fusion reserach. The chance to make the magnetic fusion work in modest budget (100 million or a billion dollar machine) is slim, which was shown ( people still argue about this ) by last 50 years of research. However people has been trying to come up with another fusion concept or make a bigger magnetic machine (more money unfortunately ). As a non fusion researcher, what is wrong with the fusion community? what must be changed in this community? what change must be made in our policy in the future research?

Please don't say fusion is not possible and worth money becasue we don't know yet. The reserach is an attempt to make it work, which itself, I believe, worthy of trial.

Sincerely yours,
Seunghyeon Son