The Korean War ended in a stalemate at the 38th parallel, which to this day divides North and South Korea. The final armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. There still is no final peace settlement of the conflict. Technically, the two sides are still at war, separated by a Demilitarise Zone (DMZ) with nukes now pointing at each other, guaranteeing nuclear annihilation if war breaks out again. And given Donald Trump’s threats of unleashing “fire and fury” on the DPRK, the possibility is horrifyingly real.
The cessation of military operations also marked the beginning of a new war: the propaganda war. As the first armed conflict of the Cold War ended in a draw, it was essential for the US-led coalition, flying the UN flag, to claim a moral victory for the “Free World”. The Red-Yellow hordes had been stopped at the 38th parallel in Korea. The next battle would be in Indochina, where the French – supported by the US – were fighting a “communist” insurgency, led by Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap. The Indochina War would become the Vietnam War, or the American War as they call it in Viet Nam.
But the “Free World” propagandists had to clear some hurdles before claiming victory in Korea. The North Koreans and Chinese had accused the US of waging bacteriological warfare and of atrocities against the civilian population and prisoners of war held in Allied camps. The war had left much of the country in ruins, with barely a building left standing in the North. According to Wikipedia, “nearly 3 million people died. More than half of these, about 10 percent of Korea’s pre-war population were civilians.” Unlike World War II, the Korean War did not bring much glory to the US & Allies. Thus it became the “forgotten war”, the one no one knows much or talks about.
Two “Caucasian Communists”, Wilfred Burchett and Alan Winnington reported the Korean conflict from the Chinese-North Korean side. I put Chinese first, because both were accredited to the Chinese delegation to the ceasefire talks. There was nothing sinister about it. Both held British passports and the United Kingdom had officially recognised the People’s Republic of China and had normal diplomatic relations. The two men were reporting events of world significance from the “other side” of a conflict which was officially a “police operation”,