Friday, April 14, 2006

Forgotten soldiers of a clandestine war

Officially, guns fell silent in Korea when the armies signed a truce in 1953. But for decades afterward, the two Koreas continued a clandestine war, infiltrating armed agents across the Demilitarized Zone, according to former South Korean agents and recently declassified transcripts of armistice talks between North Korea and the UN Command.

South Korean agents from this hidden campaign now are speaking out. They say they were mistreated "pawns of a proxy war," or "soldiers without a dog tag," secretly trained and sent across a border bristling with high- voltage electricity fences, booby traps and mines.

Those who returned home lived with nightmares but little glory or compensation.

Thousands of South Korean armed agents remain missing, either killed or perhaps - according the armistice documents - still languishing in North Korean prison camps.

[Excerpt of article by Choe Sang-Hun, International Herald Tribune]

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