On the 70th anniversary of the armistice, a new call for a peace treaty between Washington and Pyongyang.

by Gabriela Bernal, Responsible Statecraft

When talking about “war” in the year 2023, most people will immediately think of Ukraine and then possibly mention Syria, Yemen, Myanmar, or Afghanistan. Very few people would think of Korea first when the word “war” is mentioned, let alone when talking about a “forever war,” a term many, including current U.S. President Joe Biden, use to describe the war in Afghanistan.

The war on the Korean Peninsula, however, has been ongoing for over 70 years. Just because there is no active fighting taking place does not mean there is peace. Fighting ceased in 1953, three years after the start of the war, as a result of an Armistice Agreement, not a peace treaty. While signing such a treaty has not been a priority over the last seven decades, the increasingly volatile and risky military situation on the Korean Peninsula can no longer be ignored.

korean soldiers in a tank and a truck on the road

The Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950 when the North invaded the South in hopes of quickly reunifying the country under Kim Il-sung’s leadership. The North’s plan was foiled, however, when President Truman announced the intervention of the U.S. in the war two days later. The United Nations Command (UNC) was subsequently established on July 7, 1950, which resulted in 22 countries contributing various forms of support to South Korea throughout the war.

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