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Not the termination of war but the temporary stoppage of war …Applying the 'Rules of engagement during a ceasefire'

Not the termination of war but the temporary stoppage of war Applying the 'Rules of engagement during a ceasefire'

The armistice agreement was the result of 765 meetings

It is valid until the threat of North Korea nuclear missile etc. is effective until the conclusion of a political peace treaty

The rules of engagement also apply to US forces for the UN-CFC Regulations.

Compliance with the independent regulations of the 'joint chiefs of staff rules of engagement’

Not the termination of war but the temporary stopp

The Armistice Agreement was born as a result of 765 meetings held between July 8, 1951, and July 27, 1953, over a year after the outbreak of the Korean War. As the phrase "Korean Armistice Agreement on the Korean Armistice with the Commander-in-Chief of the United Nations Allied Powers as one side and the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army and the People's Republic of China as the other" implies, military issues related to the 'Cease Fire' were concluded but they did not reach the stage of 'Armistice,' due to a number of factors including political issues. 64 years after the armistice agreement, we met with Colonel Young Yeong Yeol of the Army University War Department and Major Kim Il - jin of the Defense Tactics Department to learn about the armistice and engagement rules that we should know about.


Q : What is the difference between a ceasefire and an armistice?


A: An armistice is to stop hostilities by agreement between the parties for military purposes. On the other hand, a ceasefire is to stop hostile acts for political purposes, and a truce between the countries is a more comprehensive concept. A ceasefire can be understood as a preliminary step to conclude an armistice agreement. Currently, it is more appropriate to use the term 'ceasefire' in the sense that military action was temporarily suspended by each country on the Korean peninsula.



Q : What are the rules of engagement, and why do we need them?


A: The rules of engagement are the rules that must be followed in the event of an encounter with an enemy or an army of the other country, such as an environment that starts or continues engagement and their restrictions, etc. The rules of engagement can be largely classified into those that apply in situations of peace, and those that apply in situations of war. Since Korea is not in a peace situation but is in a ceasefire, the 'ceasefire engagement rules' should be applied. The Ceasefire Engagement Rules also apply to the USFK in accordance with UN / CFC Regulation 525-4. The necessity of our own engagement rules has been highlighted, and the rules of engagement for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2013 have been drawn up, and we are in compliance. Without the rules of engagement in the army, our military forces are open to abuse. Through the rules of engagement, it is possible to protect our troops during peace time and prevent situations in which unwanted crises are created, as well as prohibit unjustified abuses from our military forces.



Q : Does the Armistice Agreement have an expiration date?


A: Article 62 of the Armistice Agreement stipulates that when peaceful unification is achieved at the political level, the Armistice Agreement is no longer valid. In other words, neither side can fix or renounce the treaty until a political peace treaty has been concluded. Thus, the Armistice Agreement is valid until it is replaced by a peace treaty through political negotiations. However, historically there has been no peace agreement alone that has guaranteed peace. For a peace treaty to be concluded, there must be real peace that prevents military conflicts between North and Republic of Korea. Most importantly, North Korea's nuclear weapons, missiles, and weapons of mass destruction must be eliminated.


Q : The Republic of Korea opposed the signing of the armistice agreement. So why are the armed forces regulated by the Armistice Agreement?


A: This is because the Republic of Korea is a party to the Armistice Agreement. If we deny the status of an armistice, we deny ourselves the status of being a party that can convert the Armistice Agreement into a peace treaty. We are obviously one of the parties to the Armistice Agreement. First, our representatives participated in the entire process of the armistice negotiations. Second, the Republic of Korea is a substantive party that complies with the Armistice Agreement. Third, the commander of the United Nations (UN) delegated by the ROK military has signed the armistice agreement on behalf of the countries that fought in this war. Fourth, we confirmed the status of our armistice agreement in Article 5 of the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement. Finally, the Republic of Korea was a party to the 1954 Geneva Peace Conference and the Geneva Four-Party Talks held in 1997-1998 to discuss the issue of converting the armistice into a peace treaty. In the separate peace forum that was held in accordance with the September 19th Joint Statement agreement in 2005, we were required to participate as a Party of a country that was directly involved. As a result, the ROK Armed Forces must strictly follow the Armistice Agreement as a party to the Armistice Agreement.


Q : If the Allied country's military is attacked first, is the right of self-defense not affected by the rules of engagement?


A: Yes. This is something our soldiers must know. Many people think that, "We cannot exercise our right to self-defense because we have to comply with the rules of engagement," which is wrong. There are two cases where force can be used without complying with the rules of engagement. In order to exercise the right to self-defense, hostile actions and hostile intentions should be considered. When the enemy is willing to attack it is defined as having hostile intentions, and if the enemy is attacks it is a hostile action. If hostile actions can be proven with evidence, it is possible to exercise a 'counter self-defense' measure.

Even if there is no hostile act, if it is obvious that the enemy intends to attack, and it is determined that the attack is imminent, self-defense measures can be exercised. This is called 'preventive self-defense' measures. Republic of Korea acknowledges the right to both 'counter-self-defense' and 'preventive self-defense' measures. Therefore, when North Korea attacks, it is natural for us to exercise our self-defense rights.


Q : When the commander makes decisions on the battlefield to deal with the engagement situations, what if we do not have enough time to meet the rules of engagement?


A: The purpose of the rules of engagement is to protect the national interest through the exercise of self-defense. The rules of engagement do not limit the authority and duties held by the commander. If there is not enough time to comply with the rules of engagement when an engagement occurs, the commander may exercise measures at his or her discretion. Of course, this is a self-defense right, and self-defense countermeasures are judged by considering hostile actions as well as the hostile intentions.

The right to self-defense can be classified into three categories: "right to self-defense on a national level", "unit self-defense" and "individual self-defense". When the enemy attacks, the field commander can respond to the hostile act, and if the enemy does not attack, but the intention to attack is clear, the commander can respond to the hostile intention. And all of these responses can be exercised by force beyond the rules of engagement in terms of the unit’s right of self-defense.


By Byeong-No, Yun < >

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