Since the Korean War ended with a truce instead of a peace treaty in 1953, North and South Korea have technically been at war.
Now, according to a unidentified South Korean official, the two countries are discussing plans to announce an official end to the conflict, South Korean newspaper Munhwa Ilbo reported Tuesday.
A South Korean official said the South hopes the North will “confirm a commitment to give up its nuclear program” during a summit between the two countries scheduled for April 27.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are set to meet in the border village of Panmunjom — the first summit to take place since 2007, Reuters reported.
It will also mark the first time a North Korean leader has set foot in the South since the Korean War.
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South Korean presidential chief of staff Im Jon told reporters that lawmakers from the two Koreas are negotiating what will be said in a joint statement to be released at the summit’s end.
The statement would most likely focus on denuclarization and peace on the Korean peninsula, as well as an improvement in relations with other nations like the United States, Reuters reported.
“This summit is significant because it will set the stage for the North Korea-U.S. summit, and even a possible three-way summit between the countries,” Im said.
“Without U.S. support and agreement, it will be difficult to follow through on inter-Korean agreements.”
In March, South Korea’s national security adviser said Kim was committed to denuclearization and expressed willingness to meet with President Donald Trump.
If Trump and Kim meet in May or June as expected, it would mark the first meeting between two sitting leaders of the two countries.
“Even though our special envoys confirmed his denuclearisation will, it is entirely different if the two leaders confirm it directly among themselves and put that into text,” Im said.
“We expect the summit will confirm the denuclearisation will (of North Korea), and hope to have a comprehensive agreement with the North on the matter.”
Seoul-based university professor John Delury told Bloomberg that negotiating a peace treaty could be as complicated as denuclearization.
“Ending the state of conflict is the core of the whole thing. Peace is as complicated as denuclearization,” Delury said. “There also has to be a process of actually delivering the peace.”
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