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Chronology of major North Korean statements on the Korean War armistice

All News 14:01 May 28, 2009

SEOUL, May 28 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's move to withdraw from the Korean War armistice repeats a pattern begun in the 1990s and is often done in reaction to South Korean and U.S. military moves. The following are major developments leading up to Pyongyang's latest threat to pull out of the 1953 accord.

July 27, 1953 -- The three-year war ends in an armistice, signed between military commanders from North Korea and China on one side and the U.S.-led United Nations Command on the other. South Korea was not a signatory.

The ceasefire was meant to be only a temporary measure before a final peaceful settlement was achieved, though it was never replaced by a formal peace treaty.

May 23, 1994 -- North Korea's Foreign Ministry says the country will no longer be bound by the armistice agreement should the United States go ahead with a multinational naval exercise called the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) drill, which South Korea ultimately participated in. The drill was held from late May to mid-July.

May 24 -- North Korea establishes the Panmunjom Mission of the Korean People's Army, its military mission to the joint security area in the demilitarized zone, after pulling out of the Military Armistice Command, a U.N. organization responsible for supervising the armistice, weeks earlier. The withdrawal came in retaliation against the U.N. Command's appointment in 1991 of a South Korean general as chief of the Military Armistice Command. The North protested, saying South Korea is not a signatory to the armistice.

April 4, 1996 -- The North's Panmunjom Mission says the country is abandoning its obligations to the armistice, such as maintaining and supervising the military demarcation line and the demilitarized zone, protesting imports of tanks, artillery and heavy weapons into South Korea.

Feb. 18, 2003 -- The Panmunjom Mission says the North will not abide by the armistice and that it will take stern measures should South Korea and the U.S. hold joint military drills.

July 1, 2003 -- The Panmunjom Mission criticizes the U.S. plan to spend $11 billion to strengthen weapons for its forces stationed in South Korea and says it will consider the move as a full annulment of the armistice.

Aug. 22, 2006 -- Ahead of an annual South Korea-U.S. joint military exercise known as Ulji Focus Lens, the Panmunjom Mission issues a statement saying the drill is tantamount to an act of war and the country will no longer abide by the armistice.

May 27, 2009 -- The mission denounces South Korea's participation in a U.S.-led security campaign, the Proliferation Security Initiative, as a violation of the armistice and says its military will be no longer bound by the armistice. With the armistice rendered ineffective, it said the Korean Peninsula was now back in a state of war.

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