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Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

  • VOA News

North Koreans gathered at Kim Il Sung Square to watch as fireworks explode in central Pyongyang, North Korea, July 27, 2014.

North Koreans gathered at Kim Il Sung Square to watch as fireworks explode in central Pyongyang, North Korea, July 27, 2014.

The two Koreas marked the 61st anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice on Sunday with muted observances on both sides of the heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates the two decades-long enemies.

In North Korea, where the day observes what is called the "Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War," veterans, now in their 70s and 80s, wore medal-laden uniforms and were honored in low-key patriotic events around the country.

There were no major parades or speeches from leaders.

Later Sunday, North Korea put on a large fireworks display to celebrate the anniversaryr.

Video footage provided by the North's state news agency KCNA, which could not be independently verified by Reuters, showed North Koreans gathering at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang to watch the display.

South Korean Prime Minister Prime Minister Chung Hong-won addressed a ceremony for war veterans and said that although North Korea still poses a threat, there must not be another war on the Korean peninsula.

The Korean War ended in 1953 in an armistice, meaning the two countries are still technically at war.

Fires missile

On Saturday, the North fired another missile into waters off its east coast, their seventh ballistic missile test this year.

State television channel KRT broadcast stills of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watching the launch accompanied by an entourage of military officials.

KRT reported that Kim then paid his respects to his father Kim Jong Il and grandfather Kim Il Sung at Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the mausoleum where his father and grandfather lie in state, just after midnight on Sunday.

The Korean War started on June 25, 1950, when 90,000 communist North Korean troops launched a surprise attack on South Korea.

During the war, the United States rallied the United Nations to send troops to counter the North's invasion of the South backed by Soviet forces.

The allies nearly destroyed Kim Il-sung's army, until China intervened.

On July 27, 1953, the commanders of North Korea, China and the United States signed the armistice, setting up a 240-kilometer border across the peninsula that is the world's most heavily guarded frontier.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

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