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Both Koreas violated armistice agreement

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Both Koreas violated armistice agreement

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Particulars and participants in the agreement, What is Korean War and implications of this agreement.

Context: Both Koreas have breached their armistice agreement when they exchanged gunfire at the border on May 3, the United National Command said recently.

It also said it could not “definitely” determine whether North Korea opened fire on a South Korean guard post intentionally or by mistake.

The UNC said it will engage in discussion with both Koreas and encourage them to prevent any recurrence.


The UN Command, which administers the demilitarized zone separating both Koreas and enforces the armistice that halted the 1950-53 Korean War, came to that conclusion after a weeklong investigation by its multinational team.

However, Seoul expressed regret over the conclusion, saying its troops had retaliated in accordance with the contingency manual.

What happened?

On May 3, North Korea fired four shots from small firearms toward a South Korean guard post inside the DMZ. The South’s troops returned fire with two shots.
The Defense Ministry concluded the incident was highly likely to be accidental.

The gunfire exchange highlighted the latest confrontation between the two Koreas amid frosty inter-Korean relations, with some military experts disputing South Korea’s conclusion that the North mistakenly fired the shots.

What is Korean Armistice Agreement?

It is the armistice that brought about a complete cessation of hostilities of the Korean War.

  • It was signed by representatives of the United Nations Command (UNC), Korean People’s Army (KPA), and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army (PVA).
  • The armistice was signed on 27 July 1953, and was designed to “ensure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved.”
  • The signed armistice established the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the de facto new border between the two nations, put into force a cease-fire, and finalized repatriation of prisoners of war.
  • The DMZ runs close to the 38th parallel and has separated North and South Korea since the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in 1953.


  • South Korea never signed the Armistice Agreement, due to President Syngman Rhee’s refusal to accept having failed to unify Korea by force.
  • China normalized relations and signed a peace treaty with South Korea in 1992.
  • In 1994, China withdrew from the Military Armistice Commission, essentially leaving North Korea and the UN Command as the only participants in the armistice agreement.

What is UNC?

It is the unified command for the multinational military forces, established in 1950, supporting South Korea (the Republic of Korea or ROK) during and after the Korean War.

Sources: the Hindu.