On one side of the world’s most heavily fortified border, North Koreans are celebrating Saturday’s 60th anniversary of the armistice that halted the
In South Korea,
North Korean leader
Barely 30 and largely seen as untested and unpredictable, Kim wove militaristic reminders into the Victory Day celebrations of the armistice, ignoring his bombastic declaration in April that North Korea no longer felt obliged to live up to its conditions.
Pyongyang has also taken the unusual step of allowing in a planeload of Western journalists to cover the events. Authorities also granted visas to a few aging
Orchestrated encounters between the visitors and young North Koreans, who spouted profane invective against the United States, were probably intended to project confidence and independence, though their similarity had the ring of memorized propaganda.
South Korea used the occasion to show off its superior military capabilities with a reenactment of an early battle of the 1950-53 war and a display of aerial acrobatics.
Seoul officials invited representatives of all 21 countries that sent troops to the
The approach of Saturday's anniversary has spawned an array of conferences, scholarly papers and films depicting the wartime suffering and lamenting the two Korean states' failure to negotiate a formal and lasting peace.
Among the recent accounts of the suspended conflict is "Memory of Forgotten War," a documentary by Bay Area filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem and her Boston College professor brother-in-law, Ramsay Liem. It follows the tragic lives of four Koreans whose families have been divided for 60 years and the irreconcilable ideologies that keep them apart.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye met Friday with New Zealand Prime Minister
U.S. veterans of the Korean War were also observing the anniversary at commemorations in Washington, where dozens gathered at the Korean War Veterans Memorial to share stories of wartime hardship or hellish experiences as prisoners of war in the North. President