'The Forgotten War': Five facts you should know about the Korean War (+video)

July 27, 2013, marks the 60th anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement. Here are five things you should know about the Korean War and armistice.

3. The armistice created the demilitarized zone (DMZ)

Lee Jin-man/AP
A North Korean soldier, left, looks at the southern side through a pair of binoculars as a South Korean soldier stands guard at the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, May 14, 2013.

The DMZ is a kind of buffer zone between the two Koreas. It spans 1.2 miles of territory on either side of the line of armistice – the de facto border between the two states that runs along the 38th parallel line – and is not technically part of either country. 

The division of the peninsula along 38th parallel goes back to the end of World War II. At the Potsdam Conference in 1945, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to divide the administration of Japanese-occupied Korea: the Soviet Union would manage the north and the US the south. The division was meant to be temporary. However, two ideologically opposed regimes emerged on either side – a Western-allied government under Syngman Rhee in the south and Kim Il-Sung’s Communist regime in the north – and the peninsula was effectively partitioned.

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