North and South Korea share a language and conventional tradition, however politically their fashionable historical past is one in all battle and division. The Korean peninsula, a Japanese colony from 1910 to 1945, was roughly divided in two alongside the thirty eighth parallel by US and Soviet occupying forces on the finish of the second world struggle. In 1948, North Korea was established by Kim Il-sung – the primary of three generations of the Kim dynasty to have dominated the nation with an iron fist. The South, a US ally, was proclaimed a republic the identical yr.
Tensions boiled over in 1950, when North Korea launched an assault on the South – the opening salvo in what would turn out to be a bloody three-year battle, with the North supported by China and the Soviet Union and the South by a US-dominated United Nations power. The struggle resulted in 1953 in an uneasy truce, however not a peace treaty, and a demilitarised zone (DMZ) was established as a buffer between the communist North and capitalist South.
Nearly 70 years because the finish of the Korean struggle, the 2 international locations stay divided alongside the identical strains by the DMZ, a 2.5-mile (4km) broad and 155-mile (249km) lengthy strip of land centred on the “truce village” of Panmunjom. The world has been the scene of occasional skirmishes however is probably finest identified for its blue UN huts, the place the 2 sides have historically met for talks throughout uncommon intervals of détente.
At present, the landmine-strewn DMZ is the world’s most closely fortified border and serves as a reminder that North and South Korea are technically nonetheless at struggle. Relations between the neighbours have alternated between engagement and estrangement, and even battle. Whereas either side proceed to confer with the eventual unification of the peninsula,the prospects for a diplomatic breakthrough are grim. Beneath Kim Jong-un, North Korea has defied worldwide sanctions to develop a nuclear deterrent that he has proven no signal of wanting to surrender.