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Korean War about defending Japan: Nixon dossier

All Headlines 10:29 January 11, 2010

By Hwang Doo-hyong

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- The United States came to participate in the three-year Korean War to defend Japan, not South Korea, from communism, former U.S. President Richard Nixon said in 1970, according to recently declassified documents.

"If you look back at it now and see the weak Japan at that time, if Korea had been overrun, and Japan with its very, very strong Socialist party leaning toward the Communists might have -- even with the enormous dependence it had at that time upon the United States economically and with certainly even the power that we guaranteed in terms of their defense -- Japan would have been pulled inevitably into orbit and toward that orbit," Nixon said in off-the-record remarks made to journalists in Chicago Sept. 16, 1970, according to a declassified dossier posted at the Web site of the State Department. "So Korea was about that."

Nixon was discussing the general view at the time of the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, where the U.S. led U.N. forces to fight back invading North Korean forces aided by its communist ally China.

Over 55,000 American soldiers were killed in the war.

About 28,500 American soldiers are stationed in South Korea as a legacy of the war, which ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty, to leave the two Koreas technically at war.

"Many years ago, at the time of the Korean War, when it was a great debate as to whether Truman should or should not have gone into Korea, I was talking to a man who is a great expert on the World Communist Movement," Nixon said. "He said something that stuck in my mind ever since that time. He said, 'Truman had to go into Korea. We had to go into Korea, because what we must remember is that the war in Korea for the Communists is not about Korea. It is about Japan.' Of course, it was."


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