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1951: Ridgway agrees to ceasefire talks

Talks to end the Korean war will begin later in July after terms were accepted by General Matthew Ridgway, supreme commander to the United Nations in the Far East.

Original proposals for the ceasefire talks were made by General Ridgway to the Communists who requested changes which have today been agreed to.

In his original message to the North Korean commander Kim Il-Sung and the Commander of the Chinese Communist forces General Peng Tuh-huai, General Ridgway stated:

"Since agreement on armistice terms has to precede the cessation of hostilities, delay in initiating the meeting and reaching agreement will prolong the fighting and increase tension."

But, at the request of the Chinese and North Koreans, the talks will be delayed by 10 to 15 days.

The delay is thought to be because of difficulties in reaching Kaesong due to transport problems although there is speculation the delay is to allow a finalisation of tactics.

Truce negotiations

The talks are to be held in Kaesong, a no-man's land just south of the 38th Parallel.

Liaison officers from all sides are due to arrive in Kaesong on 5 July for preliminary talks and General Ridgway has asked for "positive assurances of safe conduct for this personnel" for when the officers travel to the conference.

They are expected to co-ordinate details of the truce negotiations to end the war.

The war began in June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea at several points along the joint border - the 38th parallel.

In Context
The first substantial talks, between Vice Admiral Turner Joy of the US Navy and General Nam Il of the North Korean army, began on 26 July.

Arrangements for a demarcation line, a demilitarised zone, the way the truce would be supervised and the issue of prisoners of war were all discussed.

Talks at Kaesong broke down and the war reached stalemate.

Fighting did not stop until 1953 with the signing of the armistice on 27 July.

But a peace deal has never been reached. American troops remain stationed in the demilitarized zone on and around the 38th parallel separating North and South Korea.


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