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Holding Korea Line Seen Against Law Still U.S. Policy

The sea border that has become the main battleground between North and South Korea 57 years after it was imposed by a U.S. general has been called legally indefensible by American officials for more than three decades.

Then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote in a 1975 classified cable that the unilaterally drawn Northern Limit Line was “clearly contrary to international law.” Two years before, the American ambassador said in another cable that many nations would view South Korea and its U.S. ally as “in the wrong” if clashes occurred in disputed areas along the boundary.