Posted by: Chuck | July 27, 2013

Korean divide lives on 60 years after end of war


A South Korean checkpoint in the Korean Demili...

A South Korean checkpoint in the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Tensions between North Korea and South Korea have not improved since the signing of the armistice in 1953. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PANMUNJOM, North Korea (AP) — Some Americans call it the “Forgotten War,” a 1950s conflict fought in a far-off country and so painful that even survivors have tried to erase their memories of it. The North Koreans, however, have not forgotten. Sixty years after the end of the Korean War, the country is marking the milestone anniversary with a massive celebration Saturday for a holiday it calls “Victory Day” — even though the two sides only signed a truce, and have yet to negotiate a peace treaty.

Signs and banners reading “Victory” line the streets of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. The events are expected to culminate with a huge military parade and fireworks, one of the biggest extravaganzas in this impoverished country since leader Kim Jong Un took power in late 2011.

Here at the border in Panmunjom, the war never ended. Both sides of the Demilitarized Zone are heavily guarded, making it the world’s most fortified border, and dividing countless families with sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, on the other side. The North Koreans consider the presence of 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea a continued occupation. In some ways, war today is being waged outside the confines of the now-outdated armistice signed 60 years ago.

Demilitarized Zone, North Korea

Demilitarized Zone, North Korea (Photo credit: yeowatzup)

The disputed maritime border off the west coast of the Koreas is a hot spot for clashes. In 2010, a South Korean warship exploded, killing 46 sailors; Seoul blamed a North Korean torpedo. Later that year, a North Korean artillery attack on a front-line South Korean island killed four people, two of them civilians.

Earlier this year, Kim Jong Un enshrined the pursuit of nuclear weapons as a national goal, calling it a defensive measure against the U.S. military threat. In recent months, the warfare has extended into cyberspace, with both Koreas accusing the other of mounting crippling hacking attacks that have taken down government websites in the North and paralyzed online commerce in the South.

Sixty years on, as both Koreas and the United States mark the anniversary Saturday, there is still no peace on the Korean Peninsula. (Source: Yahoo News)

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