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SEOUL — One of the ironies of the Korean War, whose legacy was commemorated last Sunday, is that one cannot be sure that it is finally over. While the armistice has held for 50 years, the parties to it are still engaged in controversy, with the Korean Peninsula drifting deeper into crisis and the prospect of a nuclear North Korea looming ever closer.

No one in 1953 — certainly not those on the United Nations side who confidently looked forward to a resolution of the Korean problem — could have foreseen another half-century of division; although in their view, more than three years of war on the battlefield had resolved nothing of the underlying conflict. Only a change in attitudes could or would. The change did not happen at the political conference held following the armistice in Geneva in 1954. Two generations later we are still waiting, with the armistice still in place.

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