Trump-Kim Summit: Key Moments in North Korea-U.S. Relations

From the Korean War to the Trump-Kim Summit: a pictorial timelineNewsweek
September 1945: The Japanese flag comes down and the U.S. flag goes up in Seoul after the surrender of Japanese forces in Southern Korea. U.S. Navy

After Donald Trump’s historic meeting with Kim Jong Un, which culminated in a pledge to work towards a complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, we look back on North Korean-U.S. tensions via images that tell the story of their fraught relationship.

In 1948, a few years after being freed from Japanese colonial rule in 1945, two separate and opposing governments were established on the Korean peninsula—a communist one in the North and a democratic one in the South.

In 1950, when Communist North Korean troops launched a surprise attack across the 38th parallel into South Korea, war broke out. U.S.-led United Nations forces battled Chinese- and Soviet-backed North Korea, in a three-year conflcit that killed three million and displaced five million more.

Though an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, and troops on each side withdrew to form a Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), the two countries remain technically at war to this day.

North Korea calls July 27 its "Day of Victory in the Great Fatherland Liberation War" and blames U.S. military presence in the South for confrontation on the peninsula. The DMZ remains the world's most heavily-fortified frontier.

Since December 2011, the country has been ruled by Kim Jong Un, the son of late leader Kim Jong Il and grandson of North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un's Historic Summit in Singapore: In Pictures

In late 2017, he said the North had successfully tested a powerful new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put the entire U.S. mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.

But North Korea's ties with the outside world then seemed to take a sharp turn for the better. In early 2018, inter-Korean relations began improving. In May, North Korea said it had dismantled its nuclear testing site at Punggye-ri.

—Reuters contributed to this report

August 12, 1950: Refugees are seen walking along a road leading south after receiving evacuation orders from the South Korean army near the city of Pohang, after North Korea invaded the South on June 25, 1950.Official U.S. Army Photograph via National Archives/Reuters
December 24, 1950: Smoke rises over Hungnam's port area, as facilities and remaining U.N. supplies are demolished by explosives on the final day of evacuation operations.Official U.S. Navy Photograph via National Archives/Reuters
August 17, 1950: Crew of a U.S. Army tank rest along the Naktong River near the frontline during the Korean War.Sgt.Riley/U.S. Army
Circa 1950: An elderly woman and her grandchild wander among the debris of their wrecked home in the aftermath of an air raid by U.S. planes over Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. Keystone/Getty Images
Circa 1951: US Air Force B-29 Superfortresses drop bombs on a strategic target during the Korean War. Keystone/Getty Images
Circa April 15, 1951: U.S. troops land by parachute during the 1950-1953 Korean war.AFP
Circa 1952: A dramatic shot of 155mm Howitzer fire during night action in the Korean War. Keystone/Getty Images
Circa 1953: A U.S. Marine feeds an orphaned kitten found after a heavy mortar barrage near 'Bunker Hill' during the Korean War. Sgt Martin Riley/Getty Images
July 27, 1953: North Korean leader Kim Il-sung signs the Korean Armistice Agreement, assisted by General Nam Il, right.Hulton Archive/Getty Images
July 27, 1953: Lieutenant General Mark Clark signs the Korean Armistice in Munsan, South Korea. While the armistice was negotiated at Panmunjom, it was signed by the United Nations in Munsan and by the North Koreans in Kaesong.Central Press/Getty Images
August 2, 1953: Brigadier Jean Allard, Commanding Officer of the Canadian Brigade, breaks the news of a truce in the Korean war to Colonel K L Campbell, Commander of the 3rd battalion of the RCRS. Fox Photos/Getty Images
September 1953: Canadian soldiers rejoice after being released from POW camps in Korea. Fox Photos/Getty Images

After Donald Trump’s historic meeting with Kim Jong Un, which culminated in a pledge to work towards a complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, we look back on North Korean-U.S. tensions via images that tell the story of their fraught relationship.

In 1948, a few years after being freed from Japanese colonial rule in 1945, two separate and opposing governments were established on the Korean peninsula—a communist one in the North and a democratic one in the South.

In 1950, when Communist North Korean troops launched a surprise attack across the 38th parallel into South Korea, war broke out. U.S.-led United Nations forces battled Chinese- and Soviet-backed North Korea, in a three-year conflcit that killed three million and displaced five million more.

Though an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, and troops on each side withdrew to form a Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), the two countries remain technically at war to this day.

North Korea calls July 27 its "Day of Victory in the Great Fatherland Liberation War" and blames U.S. military presence in the South for confrontation on the peninsula. The DMZ remains the world's most heavily-fortified frontier.

Since December 2011, the country has been ruled by Kim Jong Un, the son of late leader Kim Jong Il and grandson of North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un's Historic Summit in Singapore: In Pictures

In late 2017, he said the North had successfully tested a powerful new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put the entire U.S. mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.

But North Korea's ties with the outside world then seemed to take a sharp turn for the better. In early 2018, inter-Korean relations began improving. In May, North Korea said it had dismantled its nuclear testing site at Punggye-ri.

—Reuters contributed to this report