Momentum Builds to Formally End the Korean War
Talks about officially ending the Korean War were brought forth in both South Korea and the U.S.
During summit talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump said that South and North Korea will be meeting to bring a formal end to the Korean War and that he supports the endeavor.
Trump said that many people don't realize that the Korean War has not ended and the two Koreas have his “blessing” to end their decades-long war. Although an armistice was signed in 1953 to halt the Korean War, the two Koreas still technically remain at war.
Meanwhile in Seoul, the top office said the two Koreas are in talks to change the Korean War armistice into a peace treaty as a possible way to settle peace on the Korean Peninsula.
National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong also said that establishing a peace regime on the peninsula was discussed during talks with his U.S. counterpart John Bolton.
A permanent peace regime for the Korean Peninsula has been a topic of discussion for 20 years.
During the first North Korea nuclear crisis in the 1990s, Pyongyang proposed a plan of building a peace regime, preceded by scrapping the armistice, signing a peace treaty with the U.S. and the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
But the idea was actually formally discussed for the first time during six rounds of four-nation talks among the two Koreas, the U.S. and China held between 1997 and 1999.
But the talks bore little fruit due to North Korea's reckless demands such as the U.S. troop withdrawal and a peace treaty that excludes South Korea.
Talks were then revived during the six-way nuclear dialogue in 2005.
A declaration adopted at the time stated that concerned nations will hold negotiations on a permanent peace regime for the Korean Peninsula at a separate forum.
This paved the way for parallel progress in the denuclearization process and multilateral peace talks.
Then in 2007, the two Koreas agreed to a declaration of formally ending the Korean War issued by three to four world leaders. But the agreement did not lead to any tangible action.
Among his four strategies on Korean Peninsula affairs, President Moon Jae-in had proposed securing sustainability through institutional efforts. And he pledged to establish a solid structure of peace by signing a peace treaty.
Experts say that declaring a formal end to the Korean War and a peace regime is an inevitable part of efforts to resolve the nuclear issue.
In return for denuclearization, North Korea wants a security guarantee which ultimately requires a peace regime.
In light of this, the planned summits between the two Koreas and the U.S. may well lead once again to the six-party framework.