South Korea expects the North and South will be able to officially declare an end to the Korean War before the end of 2018.
While Korean War hostilities ended with the signing of an armistice agreement in 1953, no peace treaty was ever signed, meaning that North Korea is technically still at war with South Korea and its ally, the U.S. As a fragile peace settles over the Korean Peninsula, the North and South are eager to declare an end to the war in accordance with the Punmunjom Declaration signed at the inter-Korean summit in late April.
“South and North Korea will actively cooperate to establish a permanent and solid peace regime on the Korean Peninsula,” the agreement signed by the North and South Korean leaders read. “Bringing an end to the current unnatural state of armistice and establishing a robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula is a historical mission that must not be delayed any further.”
Friday marks the 65th anniversary of the signing of the armistice agreement, but the aim is apparently to formally bring the Korean War to a close before the end of 2018.
“We are in consultations with related countries for the war-ending declaration at the earliest possible date,” South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Wednesday, explaining that an announcement could be made at a United Nations meeting in the fall.
“I think it is possible” to formally end the Korean War “within this year,” South Korea’s Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said Wednesday, Yonhap News Agency reported. “Consultations among South, North Korea and the U.S. are underway.”
The possibility of a peace treaty officially ending the war was also included in the agreement signed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump in Singapore.
“The United States and DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula,” the agreement read. North Korea recently criticized both the U.S. and South Korea for failing to take meaningful steps toward achieving this stated goal. (RELATED: North Korea Lets The US, South Korea Know They Want A Peace Treaty ASAP)
The North Korean foreign ministry expressed its frustration after a problematic meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier in July.
“The U.S. side never mentioned the issue of establishing a peace regime on the Korean peninsula which is essential for defusing tension and preventing a war,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by North Korean state media.
“Announcing the declaration of the end of war at an early date is the first process of defusing tension and establishing a lasting peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, and, at the same time, it constitutes a first factor in creating trust between the DPRK and the U.S.,” the statement explained.
The North called out South Korea in an editorial in its propaganda outlet Monday, arguing, “Given that the South Korean government also has an obligation to carry out what was agreed upon in the Panmunjom Declaration, it should not sit idle on the issue of declaring an end to the war.”
A source with close knowledge of North Korea’s position on this matter told CNN the U.S. should make a “bold move” and sign a peace treaty officially ending the Korean War before denuclearization talks can continue.
While the U.S. said denuclearization must occur before a peace treaty can be signed, the South Korean government said a peace treaty needs to serve as the foundation for the eventual denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which would give the North Koreans their desired peace agreement without the forfeiture of their nuclear arsenal.
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