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South Korea Still Considers North Occupied Territory After Korean War

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South Korea's Defense Ministry said that the territory of North Korea is illegally occupied after the conclusion of an armistice in 1953 as a result of the Korean War and belongs to Seoul under law.

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TOKYO, May 3 (Sputnik) — The territory of North Korea is illegally occupied after the conclusion of an armistice in 1953 as a result of the Korean War and belongs to Seoul under law, South Korea's Defense Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

"The only legal government on the Korean Peninsula can be in the Republic of Korea, and the territory to the north from the ceasefire line [of 1953] is occupied illegally by North Korea," the Defense Ministry said as quoted by Yonhap news agency.

The statement comes amid the recent tensions between North Korea from one side and the United States and South Korea from another. The relations between the parties have deteriorated significantly since 2016 when the North started carrying out nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions. In reaction to the launches the United States installed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to defend South Korea if Pyongyang launches an attack.

The recent ballistic missile launch was carried out by Pyongyang on Saturday prompting strong criticism from Seoul.

Since the end of the Korean War in 1953, South Korea and North Korea have been divided by a demilitarized zone as a result of signing of an armistice, however the conflict has not been formally resolved as the parties have not signed a peace treaty.

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