It’s the 64th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, but no peace treaty has ever been signed. Today, the situation on the Korean Peninsula remains tense.
CGTN’s Shane Hahm reports.
The armistice agreement that ended the Korean War has remained largely intact for more than six decades. But with tensions brewing on the Korean Peninsula recently, the ceasefire is as fragile now as it has ever been. Panmunjom is where opposing forces signed the 1953 armistice. Today, the United Nations Command holds a ceremony commemorating its anniversary.
“This year saw continued incitement from the North, this time in the form of ballistic missile tests spiked to levels unheard of, with 28 launches in the last year,” Thomas Bergeson, the deputy commander of the United Nations Command said “Yet in the face of all this, the armistice is held.”
In the DPRK, military officers mark the day with an outdoor rally in front of what is known as the Monument to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War. The Republic of Korea’s government under President Moon Jae-in has tried to ease tensions by offering to hold military talks with the DPRK. But Pyongyang has yet to respond to the offer. Instead, reports suggest the DPRK is ready to test-fire another intercontinental ballistic missile, or another intermediate-range projectile.
“The DPRK has carried out provocations, like missile launches and nuclear tests, on major events on their domestic calendar in the past,” Yang Uk, Chief Researcher at the Korea Defense and Security Forum said. “That’s why nearby countries like the United States and Japan typically use satellite imagery to monitor the DPRK’s activities.”
South Korean intelligence officials believe it’s only a matter of time before Pyongyang conducts its sixth underground nuclear test. According to reports, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency says the DPRK could have a nuclear-tipped ICBM as early as sometime next year.
“In order to show the strategic nuclear capability of an ICBM, the DPRK must secure a nuclear warhead with an impact of 100 kilotons,” said Uk. “That’s why there’s a relatively high chance that a sixth nuclear test could occur in this context.”
The Korean War ended without a formal truce. So until a permanent treaty is signed, the hope is that both sides will do their best to keep the peace.