JEAIL > Volume 7(1); 2014 > Articles
Research Paper
Published online: May 30, 2014

Haunting Phantom on the Way to the Korean Reunification? The Chinese People's Volunteer Army in the Korean War and Its Legal Questions

Eric Yong Joong Lee
Dongguk University, college of Law; YIJUN Institute of International Law
562 Gwangnaruro, Kwangjin-gu #201 Seoul 143-821 Korea
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although relationships among the former belligerent parties of the Korean War have changed drastically over the decades, the parties still remain under the armistice system because the Korean War is not over legally. The primary purpose of this research is to analyze questions related to the Chinese People's Volunteer Army in the Korean War from an international legal perspective. As a new topic, this is intended to be a precautionary examination of an issue that could haunt the eventual process of peacemaking on the Korean peninsula. The main text of this article consists of three parts. The first examines whether the Chinese People's Volunteer Army's entering the Yalu River was self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter. The second part covers various legal questions relating to armed hostilities in the Korean War under international law. The third part discusses the legal questions around an armistice negotiation.

Keywords : CPVA, Korean War, Armistice, POWs, 38th Parallel, Self-Defense, UN Forces, MacArthur, Peng Teh-Huai

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