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The BBC's Caroline Gluck in Inchon
"The Inchon landing proved a turning point in the war"
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Friday, 15 September, 2000, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Korean landings remembered
South Korean veterans
South Korean veterans remember events 50 years ago
By Caroline Gluck in Inchon, South Korea

War veterans from South Korea, the United States and Britain have joined thousands of people in the Korean city of Inchon for a ceremony to commemorate one of the key events of the Korean war.

The seven nations that participated essentially turned an uncertain outcome into a certain victory

General Jim Jones, US Marines Corps
The dramatic landing of American-led naval forces on the beaches of Inchon, west of Seoul, 50 years ago, sent North Korean forces into retreat and allowed the allies to recapture Seoul.

It was one of the greatest amphibious assaults in military history.

The daring operation under the command of American general Douglas Macarthur, undercut advances by the invading North Korean communist forces.

The Inchon landing proved a turning point in the war but for General Jim Jones, commandant of the US Marines Corps at the time, it was a high-risk operation.

Fragile peace

Soldiers stood in silent tribute to the war dead
"The seven nations that participated essentially turned an uncertain outcome into a certain victory," he recalled at Friday's ceremony.

"That was a brilliant stroke of strategy and tactic, but it was also one that was borne on the shoulders of heroism and allied determination that freedom in South Korea was going to be won."

But the war itself dragged on for nearly three more years, ending in an armistice that has never been replaced by a permanent peace treaty.

General MacArthur
A bronze statue of General Douglas MacArthur is part of the Inchon exhibition
More than 37,000 American troops are still stationed in the South to counter military threats from the North.

But while those attending the ceremony honoured those who had fought for freedom and peace, many look to the future with renewed optimism.

Their hope is that since the two Korean leaders pledged at their June summit to end half a century of hostilities, the two countries may eventually unify and the peninsular will no longer remain the only place in the world divided by Cold War ideologies.

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14 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Koreas begin 'reconciliation week'
19 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: North Korea sets its price
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