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On this day July 27, 1953

An armistice was signed to end hostilities in the Korean War, officially making the Division of Korea indefinite by creating an approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) wide demilitarized zone running across the Korean Peninsula.

Korean DMZ

Korean DMZ

The area now as 한반도 비무장지대 in Korean is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea.

The 38th parallel north—which cuts the Korean Peninsula roughly in half—was the original boundary between the US-occupied and Soviet-occupied areas of Korea at the end of World War II.

Upon the creation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, informally North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (ROK, informally South Korea) in 1948, it became a de facto international border and one of the most tense fronts in the Cold War. Read More…

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On this day May 11, 1995

In New York City, more than 170 countries decide to extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions.

Participation in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

The Treaty to limit the spread of nuclear weapons, was opened for signature on July 1, 1968.

There are currently 189 countries party to the treaty, five of which have nuclear weapons: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and the People’s Republic of China (the permanent members of the UN Security Council). Read More…

North and South Korea exchange fire

North Korea and South Korea have exchanged fire near the disputed sea-border between the countries. There are no reports of casualties.

Border North and South Korea

North Korea fired approximately thirty artillery shells into the water on their side of the border, near South Korea’s Baengnyeong Island at 0900 local time (0000 UTC). The South retaliated with around 100 shots.

According to the North, it took place as part of an annual drill. The Korean Central News Agency said that the exercise “will go on in the same waters in the future”.

South Korea maintains that it responded by firing at the North’s shells. Later reports from the South said that North Korea fired more shells in the general direction of the disputed border some hours after the initial exchange. Read More…

North Korea to test third nuclear bomb

Reports say that North Korea is planning a third nuclear bomb test which could take place later this month or in October. FOX News says the test could be performed as early as September 20 or as lat as October 10.

Kim Jong-il

Kim Jong-il 김정일

The report comes after Free Radio of North Korea stated that the nation’s leader, Kim Jong Il, “emphasized the importance of improvement of nuclear technologies with the aim of attracting the U.S. to direct bilateral talks.” A group of North Korean defectors in South Korea also claim that a test is being prepared.

On August 26, Il allegedly gave the order to military officials to build a third bomb with enriched uranium and then prepare to test it.

North Korea says that if more sanctions are placed on the country, they will test the bomb. The country also says the test is an attempt to get the United States to take part in direct bilateral talks with the nation.

Riot police raid S Korea car plant

Police raided the SsangYong Motor Company’s plant in South Korea today, in order to evict workers who have been occupying the plant since May in protest of proposed layoffs. Most of the workers were those who were previously fired for opposing layoffs.

100–400 police officers raided the auto plant south of Seoul at around 10:00 a.m. (local time). Police intended to evict some 600 striking workers who, according to a union representing the workers, “will fight to the death should police forcefully break up the occupation.” Workers at the plant are resisting police by attacking them with slingshots, metal pipes and molotov cocktails. Read More…

Bill Clinton meets with N. Korea leader

Former President Bill Clinton made an unannounced trip to Pyongyang on August 4, 2009. Although the official news agency of North Korea, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), did not announce the reason for Clinton’s arrival,

Bill Clinton and Kim Jong-il

Bill Clinton and Kim Jong-il

Western and South Korean media speculated that Clinton went to Pyongyang in order to negotiate the release of Euna Lee and Laura Ling.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs confirmed that Clinton was on a “solely private mission to secure the release of two Americans.” Visits by high level American officials to North Korea are very rare.

Former President Jimmy Carter visited in 1994 and then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited in 2000. Read More…

N Korean leader ‘has pancreatic cancer’

The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, is reported to have pancreatic cancer according to YTN, a South Korean news channel. The unconfirmed reports state that Kim was diagnosed last year, at about the same time of a reported stroke.

Kim Jong-il - 김정일

Kim Jong-il - 김정일

YTN broke the news using unidentified sources within South Korea and China. However, the National Intelligence Service of South Korea could not confirm the illness, while a South Korean Ministry of Unification spokesperson also indicated he had no knowledge of the reported illness.

Kim made a rare public appearance on July 8 of this year to mark the 15th anniversary of his father’s death. According to reports, Kim was looking “gaunt” and walking with a limp. 67-year-old Kim has suffered from several severe health problems in the past few years and speculation about his health has come under doubt several times. Read More…