After the Japanese defeat in World War II the United States set up a self-declared government, United States Army Military Government in Korea, in Korea which pursued a number of very unpopular policies. In brief, the military government first supported the same Japanese colonial government. Then it removed the Japanese officials but retained them as advisors. At the same time the Koreans, before the Americans had arrived, had developed their own popular-based government, the People's Republic of Korea. This popular government was ignored, censored, and then eventually outlawed by decree of the U.S. military government. The military government also created an advisory council for which the majority of seats were offered to the nascent Korea Democratic Party (KDP) which mainly consisted of large landowners, wealthy businesspeople, and former colonial officials. The military government, and this advisory council, set up elections for a legislature.
The elections were boycotted and protested throughout the country by the peasantry. The uprising was suppressed with police, U.S. troops and tanks, and declarations of martial law. The only representatives elected that were not of the KDP or its allies were from Jeju-do. Upon arrival in Seoul, they[who?] were kidnapped and killed. Furthermore, the U.S.'s refusal to consult existing popular organizations in the south, as agreed upon at the Moscow Conference, and thus paving the way towards a divided Korea, embittered the majority of Koreans. Finally, pushing for United Nations elections that would not be observed by the USSR-controlled north, over legal objections, enshrined a divided Korea, which the majority of Koreans opposed.
The armistice at the end of the Korean War required that a political conference be pursued where the question of a unified Korea would be addressed. Despite many proposals for independent national elections and a unified, democratic, independent Korea no declaration for a unified Korea was adopted. Some participants and analysts blame the U.S. for obstructing efforts towards unification.
No Gun Ri massacre was a massacre during the Korean War in which between eight and about 150 South Korean civilians were killed by soldiers of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment between 1950-07-26 and 1950-07-29 near the village of No Gun Ri.
The Gwangju democratization movement was a popular uprising in 1980 in the city of Gwangju. The U.S. supported the military dictator, Chun Doo-hwan, whom the protests were against. In addition, it is alleged that the U.S. was also complicit in the brutal crackdown that followed.
A U.S. Army soldier named Kenneth Lee Markle murdered a prostitute Yun Geum-i (윤금이) in 1992. This incident led to the South Korean public demanding a revision of the Status of Forces Agreement in South Korea.
On June 13, 2002, a U.S. military vehicle fatally injured two 14-year-old South Korean girls, Shim Hyo-sun (심효순) and Shim Mi-seon (심미선), who were walking along a street in Euijeongbu, Gyeonggi-do. The incident provoked anti-American sentiment in South Korea when a US military court found the soldiers involved, who were sent back to the United States immediately after the decision, not guilty. This prompted hundreds of thousands of South Koreans to protest against the U.S Army's continued presence.
Seeking to prosecute the two soldiers in civilian courts under Korean law, however, on July 10, the South Korean Justice Ministry requested that the USFK command transfer jurisdiction in the case to the Korean legal system. While the SOFA stipulates that US military personnel performing official duties fall under the jurisdiction of US military courts, jurisdiction can be transferred to Korea at the discretion of the US military commander.