Kim Jong Un marks 68th anniversary of Korean War as North and South reopen ...

Kim Jong Un marks 68th anniversary of Korean War as North and South reopen ...
Kim Jong Un marks 68th anniversary of Korean War as North and South reopen ...

Kim Jong Un has marked the 68th anniversary of the end of the Korean War with a military ceremony as North and South Korea exchanged messages for the first time in a year.

Thousands of veterans and and supporters gathered in Pygongyang for the celebrations with a big firework display in front of the Monument to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War on Tuesday.

The event marked the signing of the armistice which ended the Korean War, which pitted North against South, backed separately by China and the US, in the 1950-1953 conflict.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits Fatherland Liberation War Martyrs Cemetery with military officers to mark the 68th anniversary of the Korean armistice in Pyongyang

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits Fatherland Liberation War Martyrs Cemetery with military officers to mark the 68th anniversary of the Korean armistice in Pyongyang

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes the hand of former premier Choe Yong-rim during the 7th National Conference of War Veterans

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes the hand of former premier Choe Yong-rim during the 7th National Conference of War Veterans

Thousands of veterans and and supporters gathered in Pygongyang for the celebrations with a big firework display in front of the Monument to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War on Tuesday

Thousands of veterans and and supporters gathered in Pygongyang for the celebrations with a big firework display in front of the Monument to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War on Tuesday

That armistice has yet to be replaced with a peace treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula in a technical state of war, with about 28,500 U.S. troops still stationed in South Korea. 

But there was a sign of a thaw in the hostile relationship between the neighbouring Asian countries as they restored communication channels that had been lying dormant for a year on Tuesday. 

Liaison officials from the Koreas had several phone conversations including one on a military hotline and agreed to resume speaking regularly, Seoul officials said. 

The rivals use the channels to lay out their positions on issues and even propose broader dialogue, and the links are also critical to preventing any accidental clashes along their disputed sea boundary.

The event marked the signing of the armistice which ended the Korean War, which pitted North against South, backed separately by China and the US, in the 1950-1953 conflict

The event marked the signing of the armistice which ended the Korean War, which pitted North against South, backed separately by China and the US, in the 1950-1953 conflict

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While the renewed communication could help ease tensions across the world's most heavily fortified border, it's only a small first step. 

Pyongyang is unlikely to revive vigorous cooperation programs with Seoul or get back to the nuclear talks led by the United States anytime soon. 

Some experts say North Korea is instead aiming to improve ties with South Korea in the hopes it will persuade the U.S. to make concessions when nuclear diplomacy with Washington eventually does resume.

Those efforts have been stalled for more than two years amid wrangling over punishing U.S.-led sanctions on the North. During the diplomatic impasse, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has threatened to enlarge his nuclear arsenal if the U.S. doesn't abandon its hostile policy, an apparent reference to the sanctions.

On Tuesday, the two Koreas announced their leaders - Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in - have traded personal letters several times since April and decided in those exchanges to resume communication in the channels.

Moon's office said the two leaders agreed to 'restore mutual confidence and develop their relationships again as soon as possible.' 

Liaison officials from the Koreas had several phone conversations including one on a military hotline and agreed to resume speaking regularly, Seoul officials said

Liaison officials from the Koreas had several phone conversations including one on a military hotline and agreed to resume speaking regularly, Seoul officials said

The North's state media, for its part, said Kim and Moon agreed to 'make a big stride in recovering the mutual trust

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