US policy to shoot refugees in Korean War
American forces in the Korean War were officially instructed to shoot South Korean refugees approaching their positions, according to a recently discovered letter:
More than a half-century after hostilities ended in Korea, a document from the war's chaotic early days has come to light -- a letter from the U.S. ambassador to Seoul, informing the State Department that U.S. soldiers would shoot refugees approaching their lines.
The letter -- dated the day of the Army's mass killing of South Korean refugees at No Gun Ri in 1950 -- is the strongest indication yet that such a policy existed for all U.S. forces in Korea, and the first evidence that that policy was known to upper ranks of the U.S. government. [WaPo]
The US was afraid that North Koreans would infiltrate US-held territory by sneaking across the border with South Korean refugees. American troops may have killed hundreds of unarmed civilians at No Gun Ri in 1950, but the public didn't learn about the killings until an AP report in 1999. The Pentagon inquiry that followed concluded that the three-day killing spree at No Gun Ri was not officially sanctioned. The newly-discovered letter casts doubt on the Pentagon's findings.