For over two decades, Kim Dong-Choon has written about the history of violence leveled at the population since Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule and partitioned by Soviet and US forces in 1945. His research and theoretical reflections on state violence—committed by US forces, the South Korean police, military, and right-wing groups, as well as by leftist guerillas and the Korean People’s Army—offer unique insight into what he calls the war politics that established and consolidated North and South Korea. Rather than ending the war, the armistice that halted the fighting in 1953 institutionalized this war politics, sustaining not only a near-war situation along the DMZ but also a “state of exception” within both Koreas. In the interview, conducted by Henry Em and Christine Hong in 2012, Kim Dong-Choon explains how the division system, and the war politics that sustains it, function as a bulwark against the consolidation of democracy in South Korea.
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