Pop Quiz on the History of Korean-American Relations
by Gary Leupp, Associate Professor of History, Tufts University
This pop quiz was originally posted on Counter Punch on December 31, 2002.
It was in multiple choice format,
each question with 3 accompanying answers (http://www.counterpunch.org/leupp1231.html).
Below, we list the
questions and the correct answers for each.
1. In 1866 the U.S. merchant ship General Sherman defied the laws of Korea
(then pursuing a policy of
strict isolation) by entering Korean waters, and sailing up the Taedong River
towards Pyongyang to
demand trade. What happened to the ship?
It was attacked by local people
and soldiers, burned, and sunk, with the loss of its entire crew.
2. In 1882 the Korean government signed a treaty with the U.S. It is usually
considered an "unequal
treaty" like those signed with China and Japan. Its provisions included:
low tariffs on imported U.S. goods; and a most favored nation clause.
3. After the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5, Japan acquired control over Korea,
annexing it formally
in 1910. In 1905 Japanese Prime Minister Katsura Tarô met secretly
with U.S. Secretary of War
William Howard Taft, producing the Taft-Katsura Agreement in which the U.S.
interests in Korea. What did the U.S. receive in return?
Japanese recognition of U.S. colonial
rule over the Philippines.
4. At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, U.S. President Roosevelt and
Soviet leader Joseph
Stalin discussed the postwar future of Korea. Stalin advocated independence
as soon as possible.
advocated a trusteeship of 20-30
years, citing the positive example of U.S. rule in the Philippines.
5. In accordance with a wartime agreement that the USSR would enter the war
with Japan following
the German surrender, Soviet forces invaded Korea in August, advancing to
the 38th parallel by
August 10. They could easily have occupied the whole peninsula. What did
They consulted with their American
allies, who requested that they stop their advance at the 38th
parallel, so that U.S. forces could in the next month
occupy the rest of Korea. The Soviets agreed
to the U.S. proposal.
6. In August 1945 defeated Japanese forces formally turned over authority
in Korea to the broad-
based Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence, led by Lyuh Woon-hyung,
September proclaimed the Korean People's Republic (KPR). When U.S. forces
under Gen. Reed
Hodge arrived in Inchon to accept the Japanese surrender, they
ordered all Japanese officials to
remain in their posts, refused to recognize Lyuh as national
leader, and soon banned all public reference to the KPR.
7. As of 1945, most Koreans associated the majority of Korean big landowners
with the Japanese colonial regime. How did U.S. occupation forces deal
with this stratum?
They relied upon it for support.
8. In August 1948 the U.S.-occupied zone of Korea became the Republic of
Korea. The next month,
the KPR operating in the north became the Democratic People's Republic of
Korea (North Korea).
Around this time there were many revolts against the U.S.-backed authorities
in the south led by
supporters of the original KPR. Where was the biggest one?
on Cheju Island, off the south coast
of South Korea, where there was minimal Soviet or North
9. In June 1950 North Korean forces attacked the South and by September controlled
all but the
southeastern region around Pusan. What was the reaction of South Koreans?
little resistance, and initially
10. The United Nations Security Council approved a U.S. proposal for war
on North Korea. Why,
when both the USSR and China were on the UNSC, was the proposal passed?
China's seat was held by the pro-U.S.
Guomindang regime headquartered on Taiwan, and the
Soviet delegate was absent when the vote was taken.
11. How many people, military plus civilians, died in the Korean War?
about 4 million.
12. How many American soldiers died (officially) in the Korean War?
13. Between 1954 and 1960, how much of South Korea's government budget came
especially U.S., aid?
14. Park Chung-hee, who had served in the Japanese army during the Second
World War, participated
in a coup in 1961, and then became president in 1963. His rule, to
1979, was characterized by
economic growth, martial law, censorship,
political repression, and torture of political prisoners.
15. The KCIA abducted dissident Kim Dae-jung from a Tokyo hotel in August
1973, intending to drown
him. Following a conversation between U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Philip Habib
and Park Chung-hee the
U.S. CIA sent a helicopter to the Korean spy ship on which he was confined.
demanded that he not be killed.
16. Park's political career ended in 1979 when
the head of the Korean Central Intelligence
Agency (KCIA) assassinated him.
17. In May 1980, after the the proclamation of martial law, there was a massive
uprising in the South
Korean city of Kwangju involving tens of thousands. By official estimate,
about 200 civilian pro-
democracy protestors were killed by military forces; Kwangju residents claim
about 2000. Which
of the following best describes U.S. behavior during this incident?
The Carter administration gave prior
approval to South Korean contingency plans to use military
units against the protesters.
18. Which of the following South Korean presidents have been convicted of
the crimes of corruption,
participation in the 1979 coup, and involvement in the Kwangju Massacre?
Both Roh Tae-woo (1987-93) and Chun
19. Early in his presidency, Jimmy Carter announced plans to withdraw all
U.S. troops from South
Korea. What happened to this plan?
After meeting Park Chung-hee in
Seoul in June 1979, Carter announced that U.S. troops would
remain, and that the U.S. would expand its security relationship
with South Korea.
20. After meeting with Chun Doo-hwan in 1985, President Ronald Reagan
praised Chun for his government's
"considerable progress" in "promoting freedom and
21. Like many nations, the DPRK has sought in the past to acquire nuclear
weapons. It may have
produced two as of 1992, during the first Bush administration. The Clinton
administration negotiated a
deal in 1994 whereby Pyongyang suspended its nuclear program in exchange
for oil and the foreign-
sponsored construction of two cool-water reactors. What happened to the agreement?
Construction of the reactors did
not take place; the Bush administration rejected the Clinton policy
and South Korean president Kim Dae-jung's "sunshine policy"
towards the North; and at some
point North Korea resumed its nuclear weapons program.
22. In 1997 Kim Dae-jung was elected South Korean president and initiated
the "sunshine policy" of
rapprochement with North Korea. This led to his meeting in Pyongyang in June
2000 with North Korean
leader Kim Jong-il, in which both leaders agreed to seek reunification without
When Kim met with President Bush the following year in Washington, Bush
declined to support the "sunshine
policy" and demanded that North Korea provide more verification
of the suspension of its missile program, and withdraw
conventional artillery and armor from the
border with South Korea.
23. South Korea has been counted among the "Four Tigers" because of its strong
since the 1970s. But in 1997 the won lost half its value and the economy
collapsed. Unemployment rose
from 2 to 7 percent. Thereafter, the economy has rebounded due to:
an IMF agreement raising the percentage
of a Korean company's stock that could be owned by
foreigners from 26 to 50 percent, insuring greater foreign
control over the economy.
24. In his State of the Union address (January 29, 2002) President Bush referred
to North Korea
part of an "axis of evil"
25. What percentage of South Koreans polled after Bush's speech disagreed
with his characterization
of North Korea?
26. Which, among the following, has most benefited from the acquisition of
North Korean missile
27. Currently deployed North Korean missiles night possibly reach what part
of U.S. territory?
The Aleutian Islands
28. How many U.S. troops are currently stationed in South Korea?
29. How many foreign troops are stationed in North Korea?
30. According to official South Korean government figures, how many U.S.
soldiers in South Korea
between 1967 and 1998 committed "overt criminal offenses"?
31. How many "registered" prostitutes service U.S. GIs in South Korea?
32. U.S. arms sales to South Korea during the Clinton administration were
in excess of
$ 10 billion
33. There is some evidence that North Korea may possess one or two nuclear
weapons. What nation
is known to have deployed about 100 tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean
1958 and 1991?
34. Current South Korean public opinion polls indicate that the foreign country
people most fear is
End of quiz