This summer marks the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, a bloody three-year conflict that set Communist North Korea against a South Korea supported by a UN coalition headed by the US.
It was the first armed confrontation of the Cold War and by the time a truce was agreed in 1953, two million soldiers and two million civilians had been killed or wounded.
Six decades on, the conflict is still not formally resolved.
Troops from both sides continue to face each other across the 38th parallel, while the relationship between Washington and Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, is dominated by acrimonious quarrels over the latter’s nuclear weapons programme.
But there is another bitter and intractable dispute that continues to haunt both sides.
North Korea alleges that the US used biological weapons against Korean civilians during the war– dropping “germ” bombs containing insects, shellfish and feathers infected with anthrax, typhoid and bubonic plague on villages across the country.
The US has always vehemently denied these claims, dismissing them as crude and outlandish communist propaganda from a secretive and totalitarian state.
Nevertheless, the accusations have refused to go away. Pyongyang continues to press for an apology for an “outrage” that the US insists never happened.
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