Photos: North Korea marks Korean War armistice anniversary

USA & World

Photos: North Korea marks Korean War armistice anniversary

North Korea celebrated the anniversary of the armistice in 1953, which brought an end to the fighting in the Korean War.

The event marked 69 years since the ceasefire, which left the peninsula divided and millions of families split by the so-called Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North Korea and South Korea.

Millions of people were killed during the conflict, which began in 1950 when the communist North invaded the United States-backed South as leader Kim Il Sung sought to reunify by force the peninsula Russia and the US had divided at the end of World War II.

The Chinese and Soviet-backed North fought to a standstill against the South and a US-led United Nations coalition. Hostilities ended on July 27, 1953, with a ceasefire that has never been replaced by a peace treaty.

The North has subsequently built up a nuclear arsenal that it says it needs to protect itself against a US invasion, and has been subjected to multiple international sanctions as a result.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday said his country was “ready to mobilise” its nuclear deterrent in any future military clash with the US and South Korea, according to state media.

Speaking to war veterans, Kim emphasised the country’s “thorough readiness” to “deal with any military clash with the United States”.

His latest threats come as South Korea and the US move to ramp up joint military exercises, which have always infuriated the North as Pyongyang considers them rehearsals for invasion.