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Goodbye DMZ? What an End to the Korean War Would Mean

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Trump Confirms CIA Chief Pompeo Met North Korea's Kim Last Week

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As neighborly disputes go, this one really has dragged on. Some 65 years since open hostilities ended, North and South Korea are still technically at war. After a sudden warming of relations this year, the two sides are set to meet on Friday, with South Korean publication Munhwa Ilbo reporting the Koreas are planning to announce the end of military hostilities. Negotiations may focus in part on one of the most enduring symbols of the conflict, the 4-kilometer-wide (2.5-mile) stretch of land separating the countries known as the demilitarized zone. Peace lovers and bird lovers alike are watching with interest.

Because the parties involved in talks to end the war -- North and South Korea, China and the United Nations (representing the international community, including the U.S.) -- never were able to agree on a peace treaty. What was signed in 1953 was only an armistice, or truce, and only among three of the four parties, as South Korea held out. That’s why the border between the two nations has been one of the world’s tensest for decades.