With everything that is going on between Kim Jong-un, North Korea, and Donald Trump, it is not surprising that so many of us, on both sides, fear and perhaps expect that we are going to war. It is important to remember that we never really ceased being at war with North Korea. The United States and South Korea never signed a peace treaty with North Korea.

The United States, South and North Korea, and China signed The Korean Armistice Agreement in July of 1953. An armistice is a formal agreement to cease hostilities. It is meant to pave the way to a peace treaty.

However, a peace treaty was never actually signed. Technically, North Korea and South Korea never stopped being at war.

The war between The North and The South and the casualties

Imagine, if you will, that you were a North or South Korean, and what it must feel like to never know any real sense of lasting peace within your own nation. Just Monday, American and Japanese forces ran military drills prior to the UN general assembly on Tuesday. The United States also ran bombing drills with South Korea over the Korean Peninsula, and Russia and China are staging naval exercises. Making it clear, at least to this writer, that if we were to rejoin conflict with North Korea it would, once again, not be with North Korea alone.

The war with North Korea was devastating to both the North and the South. According to CNN and figures cited by The United States Air Force, North Korea, who began the war with a population of well over 9.5 million, suffered a loss of 1.3 million casualties, civilian and military alike. South Korea, with a population of over 20 million in 1950, suffered 3,000,000 civilian and 225,000 military casualties before the armistice.

Armistice negotiations would take over two years before being signed on July 27th, 1953.

Since the armistice, and as of 2011, North Korea has violated the armistice 221 times, including 26 military attacks. During the period between 1953 and 1976, there have been 200 incursions into North Korea by the South Koreans. Details of all but a few of them, to this day, remain unavailable for public consumption.

There have been attacks, cat and mouse games, and incursions from both the North and the South up to 2016. In other words, though an armistice was signed in 1953, there has been no peace.

Kim Jong-un and Korean People’s Army keep North Koreans in the dark

When reading about the long, violent history of Korea, since the day The North first attacked The South in 1950, one might find it very difficult to see an end to it. North Korea forever remains shut off from the rest of the world. Its citizens are prevented from receiving outside news or information.

North Koreans are kept in the proverbial dark. They are not afforded the use of the internet, cable television or news. What they are given instead is three television stations that are state-controlled and dominated by propaganda.

The propaganda focuses on the Korean Workers Party, The Korean People’s Army and Kim Jong-un. The content is always of a strictly patriotic nature. On certain national holidays, military parades and musical performances are shown on all three channels.

Knowing what I do, I find it difficult to see how North Korea is ever going to come out of their dark and forlorn nation to join the rest of the world. It seems that Kim Jong-un would never allow it, once the truth became known his regime would surely fall. How can you win the hearts and minds of a people who are forbidden to hear about what's really going on?