The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), popularly known as North Korea, has generated a significant amount of press recently in regards to its rhetoric towards the Republic of Korea, also known as South Korea, and the United States of America. While tensions have increased recently, relations between the three over the past 60 years have always been less than cordial. The strained relations between the three stem from their involvement in the Korean War.
The Korean War (June 1950 – July 1953) was seen as the first military action of the Cold War. Supported by the Soviets and China, the North Korean Army crossed over the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea, which was supported by the United States. Eventually the 38th parallel was restored with the signing of the armistice agreement between North and South Korea. While this stopped the fighting, it was not a peace agreement. North and South Korea are still technically at war with each other today.
In the past several months, tensions have risen significantly due to North Korea’s long range rocket launch in December 2012 and underground nuclear bomb test in February 2013. In March, after the U.N. Security Council agreed to sanctions, North Korea abandoned the 1953 armistice and cut its military hotline with South Korea. In April, North Korea moved several medium-range missiles to its east coast and pulled all of its workers out of the Kaesong Industrial Complex. It’s unclear what all of this will eventually mean. North Korea does have a history of charged rhetoric in order to gain concessions. One can only wait and see how this will all play out.
The following sources will provide more information on current developments with North Korea and information on the Korean War.
- The World Factbook: North Korea (Central Intelligence Agency)
- North Korea (U.S. Department of State)
- A Country Study: North Korea (The Library of Congress)
- Country-by-Country Guide to Foreign Law Research (Yale Law School Lillian Goldman Law Library)
- North Korea’s War of Words Escalates – Timeline of a Crisis (CNN)
- Korean War (History Channel)
- The Korean War, June 1950 – July 1953: Introductory Overview and Special Image Selection (Naval History & Heritage Command, United States Navy)