War in Korea steeled PLA

Updated: 2013-07-27 08:28

By Xu Yan (China Daily)

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Fighting in the limited and regional conflict kicked off the modernization process of Chinese army and made it stronger

After fighting and talking for about three years, delegates of the People's Army of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Chinese People's Volunteer Army signed the Korean War Armistice Agreement with US-led forces on July 27, 1953, with great confidence.

Such self-confidence came not only because the Chinese leadership had resolutely shown its sword at a crucial moment, but also because the country's military strength had grown stronger, as the army stationed north of the 38th parallel had thoroughly remolded itself after going through a baptism of fire for years.

The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, while the Chinese People's Volunteer Army crossed the Yalu River on October 19, 1950, which marked the beginning of the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea.

It came hard on the heels of the founding of the People's Republic of China, when the new government had made national economic construction the priority.

But before China went to the war, it had informed the United States and the United Kingdom, via the Indian Ambassador to China Kavalam Madhava Panikkar, that it would act if necessary. China warned them that if US-led forces crossed the 38th Parallel, it would not sit idly by and would definitely intervene.

The Korean War should not have broken out, but the war the Chinese fought was unavoidable once its warning was ignored and the US-led forces pressed on toward the Sino-Korean border. China needed to protect its industrial bases in Northeast China. It could not allow the US-led forces to cross its border.

However, the Chinese government made great efforts to keep the conflict localized and tried to avoid any formal declaration of war by using "volunteers".

For the Chinese People's Liberation Army that had just liberated the nation with "millet and rifle", it was a huge challenge aiding Korea and resisting US aggression. But the army stood up to the challenge and as a result emerged stronger.

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