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North, South Korea mark armistice anniversary

North and South Korea on Sunday marked the 61st anniversary of the Armistice Agreement that ended the Korean War.

SEOUL: North and South Korea on Sunday marked the 61st anniversary of the Armistice Agreement that ended the Korean War.

The truce was signed in 1953 between North Korea and China on one side, and the US-led United Nations Command on the other side.

Since then, the two Koreas have remained technically at war - and no peace treaty has ever been signed.

At one of the most sensitive borders separating the two Koreas, soldiers from the United States and South Korea stand guard at the southern side of this demilitarized zone.

North Koreans remain on their side of the truce village of Panmunjom, where an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, to technically end the Korean conflict.

A ceremony was held in Panmunjom on Sunday to remember the start of the armistice.

Panmunjom is located only about 30 miles (48 kilometres) north of the capital Seoul - and yet it is the frontline of the continuing war between the two Koreas.

General Curtis Scaparrotti, Commander of US Forces in Korea, said: "We will remain vigilant here in UN Command, and we will remain vigilant in the Combined Forces command to secure this country as well."

Currently there are about 28,000 US troops based in South Korea - to deter potential aggression from the communist North.

Meanwhile, North Korea's state media said that its leader Kim Jong-un observed a rocket-firing drill by the Korean People's Army Strategic Force on Saturday.

Its state news agency KCNA said the firing was to mark the armistice anniversary, adding that the drill was aimed to simulate a strike on US forces based in South Korea.

South Korea said Pyongyang had fired short-range ballistic missiles into waters off its east coast on Saturday.

According to North Korea's media, Kim Jong-un also paid respects to North Korea's late leaders, his grandfather Kim Il-sung and his father Kim Jong-il, on Sunday to commemorate the armistice anniversary.

North Korea's missile tests are in violation of UN resolutions. But Pyongyang has ignored them - and analysts say it is expected to continue with its provocations amid rising concerns that it could also carry out its fourth nuclear test. 

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