The Struggle for a Korean Peace Treaty

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Rally outside the Yongsan military base in Seoul. Photograph by Gregory Elich

Sixty years have passed since the end of the Korean War, and in all that time a peace treaty has yet to be signed. The armistice agreement that brought an end to hostilities recommended that a political conference be held within three months “to settle through negotiation the question of the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Korea, the peaceful settlement of the Korean question, etc.” That conference never took place.

Decades later, the sides remain technically at war. Activists in South Korea have made the signing of a peace treaty one of their primary goals, seeing it as the surest means of reducing the risk of armed conflict. A peace treaty would also substantially reduce tensions in Northeast Asia and create an environment conducive to improving inter-Korean relations. By any human evaluation, the time for a peace treaty is long overdue.

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