In Pictures: Kim Jong Un Meets Moon Jae-in for Korean Peace Talks

Could this be the beginning of a reunited Korea?
00 - Korea
In Pictures: Kim Jong Un Meets Moon Jae-in for Korean Peace Talks Newsweek

For the past 68 years, North Korea and South Korea have been at war. The two countries spent three years actively fighting from 1950 to 1953, before an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953.

Unfortunately, an armistice is just a truce and not a peace treaty, so technically speaking the countries are still at war.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have this week held peace talks. In the town of Panmunjom, inside the demilitarized zone, the leaders made history when they crossed into each other's countries for the first time.

Peace talks are ongoing and Kim has allegedly pledged to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Moon promised to cease hostile acts and to transform the demilitarized zone into a peace zone.

But how did Korea ever become two countries in the first place?

From 1910 to 1945, the Korean peninsular lived under Imperial Japanese rule. During those 35 years, the former Korean government had completely dissolved.

In 1945, the United Nations elected to split the country at the 38th Parallel, with the U.S. managing the south and the USSR managing the north. The countries were expected to be eventually reunited.

In 1948, Syngman Rhee was elected the president of the south, but unfortunately no election was held by the USSR and Kim Il-sung was placed in power of the new communist state.

A war broke out in 1950 when the USSR-backed north invaded the south. The U.S. sent help to the south and after three years, the war ended with almost the same borders. Both north and south came close to winning the war.

A new era of Korean relations appears to be on the horizon. If talks progress, a peace treaty is expected to be signed sometime this year.

As South Korean President Moon Jae-in departs Seoul for the demilitarized zone, members of the public smile in the streets. REUTERS/Jorge Silva