I read Melissa’s posting and Justing’s comment. I agree with Justin that Korean people have a kind of Love/ hate relationship with the U.S. and even a strong obsession on the U.S., not just the South but also North Korea.
I think substantial portion of Anti-Americanism in Korea was created by Korean people’s disappointment on the U.S. and it means Korean people had really expected something from the U.S. For example, King Kojong expected the U.S. would help and protect declining Chosun from other great powers, but the president of the U.S. thought that Chosun is not deserve to be independent. Korean people were exhilarated by Woodrow Wilson’s declaration on ‘Self-determination’ but the 3.1 movement in 1919 was brutally oppressed by Japanese soldiers and the U.S. did not pay attention to Korea. Some people who were really disappointed with the U.S. such as Kim San (a Korean Revolutionary from the book ‘Arirang’) became a Communist after this incident. During the Kwangju democratic movement, leaders of movement hoped the U.S. do something to save them from General Chun, ‘the butcher of Kwangju’ and were really glad when they heard an U.S. Naval fleet was approaching toward Busan. However, the U.S. was more interested in the stability of the Korean peninsula from the Cold War perspective rather than the democratic movement. And the Butcher of Kwangju was welcomed by President Reagan. Apparently, these are the history which is not familiar to most of American people.
The U.S. is a nation state seeking its national interest. However, it also expressed too much rhetoric creating hope from week countries or oppressed people. Some rhetoric was true but not all of it. How should Korean people understand the U.S.?