Friday 19 July 2013 by Michael Kelly. No comments
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Armistice in Korea

27 July 1953

This date marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the armistice at Panmunjom, Korea, that brought an end to the Korean War.

The negotiations for the armistice had begun in July 1951 at Kaesong, until the building in which the negotiations had been conducted was destroyed in August. The negotiations did not resume until October that year and were moved to the new location of Panmunjom, a truce zone on the border between the two Koreas. Both sides were responsible for the safety and security of the truce zone and the personnel within it. As it was surrounded by a war zone, it is a testament to the respect for the negotiation process shown by both sides that this area was not directly targeted over the two years of talks there.

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The building in which the original truce was signed still stands. It was hastily constructed by South and North Koreans over a 48-hour period before the signing. At 10 am on 27 July 1953, delegates from both sides signed the armistice, which came into effect at 10 pm that night.

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Over the following days, both sides withdrew two kilometres from their front-line positions, creating the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ ) which still exists today. Following the signing of the armistice, a new series of buildings, known as the Joint Security Area (JSA) were set up a little over a kilometre away, for future talks between the two countries.

For Australia, another costly war had ended. 17,000 Australians served in Korea, 10,500 from the Army and 6,500 from the RAN and RAAF. Of these, 340 were killed and 1,216 were wounded, though the actual figure is likely to be higher because some casualties were not reported. Twenty-nine Australians had become prisoners of war, 23 from the Army and 6 pilots from the RAAF. Australians would continue to serve in Korea until 1956 when Australian forces were withdrawn.

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