108 Eric Y. J. Lee
Sixty years have passed since the Korean Armistice Agreement was concluded.
Over the past decades, relationships among the former belligerent parties have
changed dramatically; China has become the largest trading partner of South Korea
still remain under the armistice system because the Korean War is not over legally.
Entering the new millennium, the relevant parties began trying to build permanent
peace in the Korean peninsula, the first step of which should be replacing the
current Armistice Agreement with a true peace treaty. As South Korean President
Germany on March 28, 2014,
the peacemaking process between the two Koreas
is expected to be accelerated. In this course, however, the Chinese position as a
signer of the Armistice may be questionable due to her highly political stance to the
military actions, especially through volunteers during the Korean War.
This research aims to analyze questions regarding the Chinese People’s Volunteer
Army (“CPVA”) in the Korean War from an international legal perspective. As
a newly tackled topic, it is intended to provide a precautionary examination of
an issue that could haunt the eventual process of peacemaking on the Korean
Part two will examine the international legal causes of the Chinese military’s
intervention in the unusual form of volunteers. Whether the CPVA entering Korea
was ‘self-defense’ will be analyzed here. Part three will cover various legal questions
relating to armed hostilities in the Korean War. The CPVA’s offensives, declaration
of war, and belligerent status will be tackled in terms of international law. Part four
will discuss the legal questions in the armistice negotiation. The POW-related issues
and the CPVA’s position in relation to the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) in the
Armistice will be analyzed.
This paper has been written as of today, sixty years after the Armistice
Agreement. However, international law, especially the law of war invoked here is
mainly that of 1953. Additionally, this research will be carried out ‘positively’ with
an international legal viewpoint. The author has endeavored to exclude any political
or ideological views regarding the Korean War and the CPVA in this research.
1 Tae-gyu Kim & Min-uck Chung, Park hints at flexible approach in aid to NK, Korea Times, Mar. 28, 2014, available
at http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/03/113_154245.html (last visited on May 1, 2014).
05-Article-Eric YongJoongLee(107-126).indd 108 2014-05-23 오후 2:20:38