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Korean War

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After the conclusion of Korean War in 1953 the North and the South became hostile to each other. During this period of confrontation which lasted till the seventies Beijing emerged as North Korea's closest ally. But, especially after the Sino-Soviet split Moscow competed for influence by providing arms to the Kim Il Sung regime. The United States felt concerned about the dangers of war damaging its key Asian ally Japan and encouraged South Korea to concentrate on economic development. With strong American support heavy Japanese investment and strong arm-military rule in Seoul, the South Korean economy began to boom. In the North the rule of Marshal Kim Il Sung continued uninterrupted through the seventies. However in South Korea General Park Chung Hee seized power in 1961 after Rhee's flight to Hawaii in 1960. Park was selected President in 1963, 1967 and 1971.

By this time idea of reunification of North and South gained ground. As a result both the Koreas held talks in 1972 and 1979 on the peaceful unification of fatherland but no success could be achieved because South did not concede the withdrawal of foreign troops from its soil. Martial law was declared in the South in May 1980 when the students agitated for political reforms. The year 1984-85 witnessed resumption of talks for unification but these too did not go beyond a few dozen visits in either direction to see relatives. In 1988 the South Korea gained international prestige by hosting Olympic Games in Seoul. In September 1990 South Korea developed full diplomatic relations with Moscow and later on held Prime Ministerial Summit with North Korea. After the disintegration of USSR, North Korea could see it was under increasing pressure to capitulate to the South. Russian aid dried up and China wanted calm environment. North Korea apparently attempted to develop nuclear weapons as an ultimate guarantor of independence, but international pressure in 1992 seemed to slow the programme. Two years later on August 13, 1994 the North Korea and US signed an interim agreement to solve the nuclear issue peacefully. The same year Kim Il Sung died after a rule of more than forty years and was succeeded by his son Kim Jong Il.



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