Didn’t the Korean War end in 1953? The short answer is no
(CNN) – Is the Korean War about to end?
Some might say, “Didn’t that happen in 1953?”
Others may know that it was only an armistice that ended hostilities in 1953 – but there was never a treaty to end the conflict between North Korea (and its main ally China) and South Korea and its allies, including the United States. States.
As the senior South Korean diplomat said on Wednesday that Seoul and Washington have “effectively agreed” on a draft deal to end the war, here’s a look at what that means.
What is the Korean War?
War broke out on June 25, 1950, when the first of what the U.S. military estimated at 135,000 North Korean forces stormed the 38th parallel dividing North Korea and South Korea in an attempt to take full control of the Korean Peninsula.
The United States, under the leadership of President Harry Truman, responded with what has been called “police action”, bringing together a group of international allies under the auspices of “United Nations Command” to come to the aid. to South Korea. Twenty-two nations have provided combat troops or medical support units to the United States-led effort.
Communist-controlled North Korea had the backing of the Soviet Union and China, with Beijing actively intervening on the military front in October 1950, sending nearly a quarter of a million troops to the Korean Peninsula as forces led by the United States were advancing towards the Chinese border. with North Korea.
Chinese support for the North pushed the UN advance down the peninsula, and in 1951 a stalemate emerged along the 38th parallel, where the border between the two Koreas today lies.
How did the fighting end?
Armistice talks began in 1951 and took place on and off until a final agreement to end the fighting was reached at Panmunjom on the 38th parallel on July 27, 1953. Within three days, both sides withdrew their troops at least 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the ceasefire line.
Why didn’t the armistice end the war?
The signatories of the July 27, 1953 agreement to end hostilities were the heads of the UN Command, the North Korean army, and Chinese troops on the Korean Peninsula. South Korea is not a signatory and the agreement specifically says that it is not a peace treaty.
According to the preamble to the armistice, it is concluded “in the interest of stopping the Korean conflict, with its great toil of suffering and bloodshed on both sides, and with the objective of establishing an armistice that ensure a complete cessation of hostilities and all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is reached. “
What has happened since 1953?
There was no official contact between the North Korean and South Korean governments until 1971, according to the US State Department.
By 1991, however, tensions had subsided enough for Pyongyang and Seoul to sign the North-South Basic Agreement, according to which reunification was the goal of both sides. But a State Department story indicates that the North’s nascent weapons programs and the death of its longtime leader Kim Il-Sung in 1994, coupled with political unrest in the South, have led to further tensions.
The first inter-Korean summit was held in June 2000, but the thaw it predicted ended with North Korea’s admission in 2002 that it was pursuing nuclear weapons.
This admission led to a series of negotiations over the North’s nuclear program between North Korea, China, Russia, South Korea, the United States and Japan, known as the Six-Party Talks. North Korea withdrew from that effort in 2009 after restarting its Yongbon nuclear reactor and launching a series of missile tests.
In 2007, South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il met in Pyongyang and agreed to try to bring peace and reunify the peninsula without the intervention of outside parties. But conservative Lee Myung-bak was elected South Korean president a few months later and took a hard line on the northern arms program, crippling peace efforts.
Tensions eased again in 2018 when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Panmunjom. The two said they would work to turn the 1953 armistice into a peace treaty.
Later that year, the two met again in Pyongyang and signed a joint declaration to continue denuclearization while working for peace on the peninsula.
Three meetings between US President Donald Trump and Kim – the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader – also failed to make progress towards the denuclearization of the North, despite their historic nature. Since then, efforts have stalled.
So what does the announcement of a possible draft peace treaty mean?
Basically not much – yet. Whatever deal US and South Korean diplomats reach on the draft text would still require the approval of their respective governments. Of course, North Korea should agree and, as a party to the armistice, so should China.
But there is room for optimism.
South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong said on Wednesday that North Korea had reacted swiftly and positively to South Korea’s move to declare an end to the Korean War.
And Kim Yo Jong, sister of the North Korean leader, in September called the South Korean president’s proposal to declare an end to the war “interesting” and “a great idea,” but questioned the timeline and called into question. demanded that a hostile policy against the North be withdrawn first.
North Korea has yet to respond in detail to the statement, even through China, Chung said.
This story first appeared on CNN.com Didn’t the Korean War end in 1953? The short answer is no