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Immediate Release

Statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on the 70th National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day

Seventy years ago today, on July 27, 1953, after more than three years of war on the Korean Peninsula, military leaders from the United States, North Korea, and the People's Republic of China signed the Korean Armistice Agreement to "insure a complete cessation of hostilities." 
All Americans should remember the terrible cost of the Korean War and the valor of those who fought against aggression, facing fierce adversaries, harsh terrain, and pitiless conditions. More than 36,000 U.S. troops were killed in action, along with hundreds of thousands more from the Republic of Korea and partner nations serving in the United Nations Command. Even today, some 7,000 American service members from this war remain unaccounted for. We have a solemn duty to continue looking for answers for American families whose loved ones still remain missing in action seven decades on. America also has a sacred responsibility to take care of our Korean War veterans, their families, their caregivers, and their survivors, and to ensure that they get the benefits they deserve.
When President Eisenhower told the American people that the armistice had been signed, he said, "We shall fervently strive to insure that this armistice will, in fact, bring free peoples one step nearer to their goal of a world at peace." So it has. During each of my three visits to the Republic of Korea as Secretary of Defense, I have seen firsthand its thriving democracy, dynamic economy, and innovative minds in action—all a living testament to the shared sacrifices of families in both of our countries. I have also had the privilege of spending time with the American troops stationed there, who proudly keep the peace and serve alongside South Korean service members. Seventy years after the signing of the armistice, and the U.S.-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty that followed soon after, our ironclad alliance is stronger than ever. In the words of our alliance motto, "We go together"—and we will continue to do so, shoulder to shoulder.