South Korea and the United States on Thursday reaffirmed their commitment to defending “the hard-fought peace” on the divided peninsula as the allies marked the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War.
Communist North Korea invaded the US-backed South on June 25, 1950, triggering a three-year war that killed millions.
The fighting ended with an armistice that has never been replaced by a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula divided by a Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the two Koreas still technically at war.
“On this day in 1950, the US-ROK military alliance was born of necessity and forged in blood,” the US secretary of defence Mark Esper and his South Korean counterpart Jeong Kyeong-doo said in a joint statement, using the acronym for the Republic of Korea, South Korea’s official name.
The two paid tribute to the “sacrifice, bravery, and legacy of those who laid down their lives in defence of a free, democratic and prosperous” South, the statement read.
Seoul’s defence ministry puts the conflict’s military fatalities at 520,000 North Koreans, 137,000 South Korean troops and 37,000 Americans.