Dr. Jang-hyun PaikVisiting Professor at Hanshin UniversitySteering Committee member at CINAP This year marks the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War and the 67th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice Agreement. The Korean War in 1950 was a horrendous war, sacrificing more than 5 million people from a population of about 25 million in Korea. After the armistice was signed, the Korean War was on hold, still without an end. The War is over, but not completely ended. The Korean Peninsula remains in a state of conflict and tension. Many studies have been conducted on the cause and the nature of the War; however, little progress has been made on the issue of ending the war and settling peace. The Military Armistice Agreement signed in July 1953 to end the Korean War has the following problems: The Military Armistice Agreement signed in July 1953 to end the Korean War has the following problems: First, military conflicts between the two Koreas continued despite the Armistice Agreement. From July 1953 to April 1994, North Korea violated the armistice 425,271 times according to the United Nations Command (UNC), and the violation of South Korea reached 835,563 times according to North Korea. Second, the main system of the agreement has so far been inoperative since the Armistice Agreement. The Armistice, which consists of 5 articles and 63 paragraphs, was only effective in 8 paragraphs and 2 subparagraph but even these were virtually incapacitated when N. Korea announced its withdrawal from the Military Armistice Commission since 1992. When the meeting of the Military Armistice Commission to oversee the armistice was not held, the four-party talks and the United Nations and North Korean military general-level talks were held to replace it. However, the four-party talks were held only until 1999 and the general-level talks were on and off and then halted since March 2009. Therefore, after the Korean War, peace on the Korean Peninsula has been maintained so far not because of the armistice agreement,but because of the "balance of fear" that arose from the experience in which the other side must retaliate in the event of provocation by either side. Third, even though the Korean military is a directly involved party, it has no qualifications and authority in the armistice system. The formal name of the armistice is "Agreement between the Commander-in-chief of the United Nations Command, on the one hand, and the Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army and the Commander of the Chinese People's Volunteers, on the other hand, concerning a Military Armistice in Korea". As the name suggests, Korea has no authority within the armistice system because it is not a directly involved party to the agreement. This is precisely why the UNC, with only a title left, is tyrannical by abusing its authority. The UNC has frequently interfered with inter-Korean cooperation, including visits by South Korean working-level officials to the North to connect inter-Korean roads and railways, and various activities to build peace in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The UNC is supposed to be dissolved after the War, but it has so far been interfering in military affairs between the two Koreas. The additional measure to settle peace after the armistice were based on Article IV(60): “within three (3) months after the Armistice Agreement is signed and becomes effective, a political conference of a higher level of both sides be held by representatives appointed respectively to settle through negotiation the questions of the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Korea, the peaceful settlement of the Korean question, etc.” This additional measure has never been taken since April 1954 when the nineteen related nations gathered in Geneva to hold two months long political talks without fruitful results. Why? Why has this abnormal state been lasting for 67 years after the war? This may be due to the foreign powers around the Korean Peninsula and the “Cold War powers” within Korea, whose stakes are in maintaining the Peninsula divided. They are obstructing the peace settlement on the Korean Peninsula hoping that conflict and tension will continue. They make a fuss when someone raises a problem with the UNC issue as if it would pose a serious threat to the national security, and when a discussion on transferring wartime operational control is brought up, they attempt to maintain tensions indefinitely with large-scale military exercises under the pretext of verifying operational capabilities. In order to end the war and settle peace, the governments usually agree to ceasefire by signing an armistice agreement, settling issues of territorial demarcation and war responsibility with a peace treaty, and then normalizing diplomatic relations. However, no progress has been made with the signing of an armistice on the Korean Peninsula since the end of the war more than 70 years ago. "Signing a peace treaty requires time to wrinkle out countless issues." In the case of the Korean Peninsula, since the peace settlement must be dealt with while the division is maintained, many complicated and difficult issues exist such as the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the United States Forces Korea (USFK), and the military measures for war prevention. Yet, it is unthinkable not to make any effort until more than 70 years later. This is all the more so considering when the major international wars, including the Vietnam War, generally took about 10 years to conclude a peace treaty after the armistice. This is likely because there is an intense and high stake in the Korean Peninsula as a strategic location so the powerful nations— the United States, China, Russia, and Japan—form a balance of power here. In order to settle peace and overcome the division on the Korean Peninsula, a neck-or-nothing fight is inevitable against the powers who hope to maintain the armistice system. We should no longer tolerate the behavior of those who stick to the armistice system at the unilateral sacrifice of the Korean people to maintain their vested interests. Now, Korea is not a weak or pushover nation to the neighboring powers. South Korea, with only a half of the peninsula, has grown rapidly to become the world's tenth largest economy and the seventh strongest military force. At present, Korea has the right to ask the international community for proper treatment that fits to its national power. The neighboring powers should also cooperate in ending the armistice system in order to maintain good relations with us. In particular, the United States, as our ally, should not turn a blind eye to the longings of the Korean people. The U.S. should dissolve the troubled UNC regardless of the signing of a peace treaty and transferring the military management authority including the Demilitarized Zone to the Inter-Korean Joint Military Management Committee, as agreed by the two Koreas in the military agreement to implement the Panmunjom Declaration. The U.S. should also speed up the transfer of wartime operational control, which has been delayed indefinitely under the pretext of verifying full operational capabilities (FOC).