United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea (UNCURK)

International Operation Name: United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea (UNCURK)

International Operation Dates:  1950/10/07 – 1973/11/28

Mandating Organization: United Nations

Region Name:  Asia

Location:  Korea

Canadian Operation Name: United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea

Canadian Operation Dates: 1950/10/07–1951/03/03

Mission Mandate:   To unify and take measures to economically rehabilitate Korea. General Assembly Resolution 376 (V)

Mission Notes: 

On 12 December 1948, the United Nations General passed Resolution 195 (III) which created the United Nations Commission on Korea (UNCOK). Its mandate included assisting in the unification of Korea and was expanded on 21 October (Resolution 293 (IV)) to include observing and reporting on any developments “which might lead to or otherwise involve military conflict in Korea”. In fact, this became UNCOK’s primary role. Australia provided the first UNCOK military observers, followed by Canada.

On 28 June, the Canadian Cabinet approved the request from the Secretary-General to provide two military officers. On 6 July, Wing Commander (W/C) Harry Malkin and Lieutenant Colonel Frank White were on their way, arriving in Pusan on 25 July. Once Seoul was re-occupied by the UN forces, they moved there. However, they retreated back to Pusan in early January when the communist forces led by the Chinese retook Seoul. W/C Malkin and Lt-Col White were part of an eight-person observer group. The observers were divided into two –person teams assisted by a Korean liaison representative.

It was becoming obvious at the United Nations that UNCOK was not able to perform its mandate and that Korea would require massive assistance after the war ended. As a result UNCOK was terminated on 7 October 1950 when the General Assembly created the United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea (UNCURK). Lt-Col White and W/C Malkin were transferred to the new organization, continuing to report on the situation on the ground.

UNCURK’s military observers were duplicating the observations of the UN Command in Korea, and were actually contributing very little. On 10 January 1950, UNCURK decided that only one military observer would be required to assist the mission. W/C Malkin volunteered to stay behind. UNCURK also decided not to request replacements for the observers. LCol White departed Korea in January 1951, as did the other UNCOK military observers. W/C Malkin departed Korea in late February, arriving in Canada on 2 March 1951. Thereafter, UNCURK was strictly an organization focusing on the economic and political aspects of Korean unification and rehabilitation. 

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