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South Korea commemorates 66th anniversary of Korean war

The Korean War started on June 25, 1950, when North Korean troops launched a surprise attack across the 38th parallel into South Korea.Three million soldiers and civilians were killed in the war. Photograph: (Getty)

Reuters Seoul, South Korea Jun 25, 2016, 10.09 AM (IST)
South Korea commemorated the 66th anniversary of the beginning of the 1950-53 Korean War today in Seoul.

The Korean War started on June 25, 1950, when Communist North Korean troops launched a surprise attack across the 38th parallel into South Korea.

US-led United Nations forces battled Chinese- and Soviet-backed North Korea, in which three million soldiers and civilians were killed and five million became refugees.

About 5,000 war veterans and civilians, along with government officials, attended a ceremony to mark the anniversary.

South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, urged North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions.

"It has been a long time since the sound of gunfire has stopped. But we are still facing off on each side of the ceasefire line. As a divided country, our security remains unstable," Hwang said.

"The government will not stand idly against North Korea's continuing provocations. We will surely defend our country and take every possible measure to make North Korea give up nuclear weapons and come out on to the path of change and reform," Hwang added.

North Korea launched what appeared to be an intermediate-range missile on June 22 to a high altitude in the direction of Japan before it plunged into the sea, military officials said, a technological advance for the isolated state after several test failures.

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un said after supervising the test launch of an intermediate-range missile that the country now has the capability to attack US interests in the Pacific, official media reported on June 23.

"Well I'm really impressed with how fast things have been changed, the country. I didn't realise that Seoul is as big as it is. I didn't get there when I was over here in '51. I was all along the 38th went through Incheon. That's where I came in and landed. When I got over here there was nothing left, everything was burnt," said one of the American war veterans, Vernon E. Neuharth, who attended the cermony.

North and South Korea are still technically at war since the 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce without a peace treaty.

(Reuters)
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