[KS] Koreanstudies mailing list submission
Walter L. Keats
walter.keats at asia1on1.com
Mon Sep 24 11:46:07 EDT 2007
Question regarding where the victors and losers sat for the Armistice
On my last two visits (this August and September) to Panmunjom from the
North we, as usual, visited the two Armistice related halls, the one for the
negotiations and the other for the signing. For both these times the
briefer, described as a KPA lieutenant colonel, gave the following
explanation for the placement of the three tables in the signing hall.
(There are three tables aligned on the north-south axis. The middle table
was empty, kind of a spacer. The signers sat on the western side of their
respective tables facing east. The northern table is where the DPRK
representative sat and the southern table is where the UN, or as they say,
the US representative, sat.) The Colonel said that the "victors" sat on the
north and the "losers" sat on the south.
I have visited this hall various times since 1995 and no one previously had
made this geographically related comment. Was this just a flippant comment
by a gung-ho soldier or is there a tradition in Korea (and possibly other
Asian countries) that the victor sits in the north while the loser sits in
the south? Given the emphasis in Asian dynastic cultures on palaces being
built on a north-south axis, with the seated leader on his throne facing
south, I could see this as a logical extension of that geographic
Can anyone clarify this for me? If this is the case, does anyone know why
the UN signers didn't know about this, other than that the South Koreans
refused to sign and were therefore not "in the loop"?
Walter L. Keats, CTC, CMP
Asia Pacific Travel, Ltd.
P.O. Box 350
Kenilworth, IL 60043-0350 USA
Email: walter.keats at asia1on1.com
Websites: www.asia1on1.com <http://www.asia1on1.com/>
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