Survivors of No Gun Ri dismiss U.S. Army's findings as a whitewash

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Survivors of No Gun Ri dismiss U.S. Army's findings as a whitewash

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Doc: 00041840


Sang-Hun Choe (Associated Press Writer)

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Copyright 2001 By The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Survivors of the killing of refugees by American GIs at No Gun Ri angrily denounced as a whitewash the U.S. Army's report that there was no evidence that the soldiers were ordered to kill.
"It's full of excuses," said Park Hee-sook, a 66-year-old woman who said she witnessed the incident at the South Korean hamlet early in the Korean War. "The Americans need to be more frank about their past wrongdoings."
Survivors had been pressing for an explicit apology for what happened at No Gun Ri as well as compensation for their suffering, but got neither.
President Clinton expressed regret that Korean civilians lost their lives at No Gun Ri, but stopped short of a formal apology. He said a memorial would be built to honor "these and all other innocent Korean civilians" killed during the 1950-53 war and said the United States would establish a scholarship fund in their memory.
"We don't need the scholarship and monument," said 62-year-old Chun Choon-ja. "We want a more sincere apology, not a vague statement of regret, from the U.S. government."
"I wish I could see President Clinton right now and ask him what he is talking about and tell him that he doesn't know what we went through at No Gun Ri," Chun said.
"Any final report that does not deal with the responsibility of commanders has a serious defect," said Chung Koo-do, spokesman for the survivors' group, said. "It can't be construed as anything other than a Pentagon attempt to whitewash the massacre."
About 150 protesters shouted slogans in support of the survivors' cause at a weekly anti-U.S. rally Friday in front of the U.S. military's main compound in Seoul.
"Washington's attitude towards the No Gun Ri massacre is another barbarity that can never be forgiven," said a leaflet distributed by student protesters, whose chief demand is the withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea.
In its report, the U.S. Army cited "conflicting statements and misunderstandings" about whether orders were given, but its investigators concluded that no oral or written orders were given to "shoot and kill" South Korean civilians at that time.
"We fully understand the chaotic circumstance of the war and the difficulties that the GIs faced, but the U.S. announcement shows that the American government does not want to dig up all the truth of No Gun Ri," said 60-year-old Chung Koo-hak.
Chung Eun-yong, the chief representative of the survivors' group, complained that the U.S. government rejected a proposal for a joint investigation with the South Korean government and victims.
"It was an attempt to whitewash the investigation," he said. "If they had accepted our demand and did the investigation jointly with us and our government, the result would have been quite different."
Chung said the survivors would take the case to the International Court of Justice in the Hague, Netherlands, to try to demand compensation from Washington.
"Clinton wants to put an end to the No Gun Ri incident, but it's not over," he said.

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Sang-Hun Choe (Associated Press Writer), “Survivors of No Gun Ri dismiss U.S. Army's findings as a whitewash,” No Gun Ri Digital Archives, accessed June 15, 2019,