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North and South Korea mark armistice anniversary

North and South Korea are marking the 59th anniversary of armistice after the Korean War. The agreement among North Korea, China and the United States was made in 1953 in the Panmunjom demilitarised zone, dividing the two neighbours. At the ceremony in the South, James D. Thurman, Commander of the U.S. Forces Korea, called the armistice a success. However, a UN official said the country needs to stay on high alert against its communist neighbour's possible provocations. On Friday, North Korean state media broadcast a pre-taped ceremony with hundreds of Workers' Party members, military officials and war veterans. An official during the ceremony said North Korea was "not afraid of war" if the U.S. "provokes" the isolated state. The Korean War started on June 25, 1950, when communist North Korean troops launched a surprise attack across the 38th parallel into South Korea. U.S.-led United Nations forces battled Chinese and Soviet-backed North Korea in the conflict, in which three million soldiers and civilians were killed and five million became refugees. North and South Korea are still technically at war since the conflict ended in a truce without a peace treaty. Sarah Sheffer, Reuters

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