15. April 2021
The MAC, which has members of both parties, still meets regularly in the ceasefire village of Panmunjom. The exchange was made in two waves: Operation Little Switch, in which sick and wounded prisoners changed ownership, and Operation Big Switch, the last step in exchanging all remaining prisoners between sides. These prisoner-of-war exchanges were one of the most tense moments of a catastrophic war. And they still affect the chances of peace on the Korean peninsula. This may seem familiar to anyone who knows the end of the Korean War. In 1953, prisoners of war became a sensitive point between the two sides, which threatened any chance of peace and threatened a persistent stalemate in the deaths of millions of people. But the end of the war depended on successfully negotiating the fate of prisoners of war on both sides. These negotiations resulted in two massive prisoner exchanges that marked the end of the war. From the start of the ceasefire talks, the Communists wanted a UNC ceasefire before all ceasefire talks progressed. Joy understood this conditional trap. If UNC agreed to an early ceasefire, the Communists would be encouraged to delay ceasefire negotiations for as long as possible in order to under-pressure UNC military pressure on the ground.
At the same time, communist forces would gain precious time not to regenerate their besieged troops. Korea was ruled by Japan from 1910 until the last days of World War II. In August 1945, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan following an agreement with the United States and liberated Korea north of the 38th parallel. U.S. forces then deployed to the South. In 1948, Korea was divided into two separate governments as a product of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. Both claimed to be the legitimate government of Korea and neither side accepted the border as sustainable. The civil war escalated into an open war when North Korean troops, backed by the Soviet Union and China, moved south on June 25, 1950 to unify the country. On that day, the UN Security Council recognized the North Korean action as an invasion and called for an immediate ceasefire. 21 UN countries ultimately contributed to the defence of South Korea, with the United States providing 88% of the UN military personnel.