Following the collapse of Japan in 1945 Soviet forces arrived in North Korea, one month ahead of the Americans, and established a Communist-led provisional government. A People’s Democratic Republic was proclaimed on 9 Sept. 1948 and Kim Il-sung became premier, purging all rivals. On 25 June 1950 North Korea invaded the south; its advance was stopped with the aid of UN forces. Chinese Communist ‘volunteers’ joined the war in Oct. 1950. Truce negotiations were begun in 1951 and concluded on 27 July 1953. A demilitarized zone was set up along the final battle line between North and South Korea. On 13 Dec. 1991 the prime ministers of North and South Korea signed a declaration of non-aggression, agreeing not to interfere in each other’s internal affairs. 3 agreements were reached between the North and South Korean prime ministers in 1992 on proposals for military, economic, political and social co-operation. Kim Il-sung, head of state, Communist Party and the military since 1948, died on 8 July 1994, and was succeeded by his son, Kim Jong II. On 21 Oct. 1994 an agreement to restrict nuclear power to peaceful purposes in Korea was signed by North Korea and the USA. Since then, negotiations have foundered on evidence of continuing nuclear activity. As the last refuge of Stalinism, North Korea needs a radical economic shake-up to survive but fears the consequences of reform.
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