The Korean War was a war between North Korea and South Korea with major hostilities beginning on June 25, 1950, pausing with an armistice signed on July 27, 1953. The conflict arose from the division of Korea by the UN and the attempts of the two Korean powers to reunify Korea under their respective governments. The division led to full scale civil war with a cost of more than 2 million civilians and soldiers from both sides. The period immediately before the war was marked by escalating border conflicts at the 38th parallel and attempts to negotiate elections for the entirety of Korea.
These negotiations ended when the military of North Korea invaded the South on June 25, 1950. Under the aegis of the United Nations, nations allied with the United States intervened on behalf of South Korea. After rapid advances in a South Korean counterattack, North-allied Chinese forces intervened on behalf of North Korea, shifting the balance of the war and ultimately leading to an armistice that approximately restored the original boundaries between North and South Korea.
While some have referred to the conflict as a civil war, there were many other factors at play. The Korean War was also the first armed confrontation of the Cold War and set the standard for many later conflicts. It created the idea of a proxy war, where the two superpowers would fight in another country, forcing the people in that nation to suffer the bulk of the destruction and death involved in a war between such large nations. The superpowers avoided descending into an all-out war with one another, as well as the mutual use of nuclear weapons. It also expanded the Cold War, which to that point had mostly been concerned with Europe. A heavily guarded demilitarized zone on the 38th parallel continues to divide the peninsula today with anti-Communist and anti-North Korea sentiment still remaining in South Korea.
Since the ceasefire of the Korean War in 1953 the relations between the North Korean government and South Korea, the European Union, Canada, the United States, and Japan have remained tense. Fighting was halted in the ceasefire, but both Koreas are still technically at war.[page needed] Both North and South Korea signed the June 15th North-South Joint Declaration in 2000, in which both sides made promises to seek out a peaceful reunification. Additionally, on October 4, 2007, the leaders of North and South Korea pledged to hold summit talks to officially declare the war over and reaffirmed the principle of mutual non-aggression
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