Jul 27

This Day in History – July 27th, 1953

Friday, July 27, 2018 10:35 AM

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The Armistice between the United States, South Korea, and North Korea that ended the Korean War was signed on July 27th, 1953.

Major General Blackshear M. Bryan, U.S. Army (2nd from left), Senior Member of the Military Armistice Commission, United Nations' Command, exchanges credentials with Major General Lee Sang Cho, North Korean Army (3rd from right), Senior Communist delegate, at the Conference Building at Panmunjom, Korea, 28 July 1953. This was the day after the Korean War Armistice went into effect. Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives. (U.S Naval History & Heritage Command)

Major General Blackshear M. Bryan, U.S. Army (2nd from left), Senior Member of the Military Armistice Commission, United Nations’ Command, exchanges credentials with Major General Lee Sang Cho, North Korean Army (3rd from right), Senior Communist delegate, at the Conference Building at Panmunjom, Korea, 28 July 1953. This was the day after the Korean War Armistice went into effect. Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

The Armistice marked the end of three years of bloodshed, setting terms and conditions that were meant to be temporary. It was to be followed by legislators and diplomats to settle the question of Korean statehood.

Military leaders from each of the combatant countries oversaw the talks. Field Marshall Peng Dehuai was the representative from the People’s Republic of China, Lieutenant General William Kelly Harrison was the United States’, and General Nam Il was the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea’s. Formal negotiations by diplomats, Chinese Leader Zhou Enlai, and American Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, was to follow the military cease fire.
The terms immediately called for a cessation of hostilities by all armed forces and repatriation of prisoners of war. One of the most important outcomes was the division of the two Korean states along the 38th Parallel.

Sixty-five years later, the United States still faces issues in the region, such as nuclear escalation and a tense relationship between North and South Korea at the 38th Parallel. These issues are a result of the terms set by the stalemate between the two opposing forces because an actual political conference did not follow the temporary Armistice.

July 27th, 2018 marks an act of goodwill between the United States and North Korea. North Korea is repatriating the remains of fallen U.S service members during the Korean War. Approximately 7699 service members are still missing in action.

The Korean War Memorial at Washington D.C

The Korean War Memorial at Washington D.C

Much has been done since the signing of the Korean War Armistice. April 27, 2018 saw both Korean leaders vow to ease military tensions along the region and to work towards Korean reunification. In June, President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un met for formal talks regarding Korean denuclearization, and the fate of the Korean Peninsula. Although small, these steps represent a turning point in the United States’ relationship with North Korea. Economically, Kim Jong Un appears to want to open the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea towards commercialization and its borders as evidenced through some of the terms laid out in his meeting with South Korean leader Moon Jae-In. Ultimately the answer to the question of a unified Korea lies in their joint push for a more prosperous economic future, and with that push, makes the idea of armed conflict further away from reality.