North And South Korea Have Agreed To End Korean War

( Last week, South Korea’s Foreign Minister confirmed that the US and South Korea have effectively agreed on a draft declaration to formally end the Korean War.

The Korean War began in 1950 and was ended in an armistice agreement three years later between China, North Korea, and the UN Command. The agreement was intended to bring hostilities to a close and eventually bring a “final peaceful settlement.” And nearly seventy years later, this declaration brings that peaceful settlement a step closer.

Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong announced at an end-of-year press conference last Wednesday that the two allies were now considering ways to make progress in consultations with North Korea.

Chung such a declaration is an important step in the process of reaching complete denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. And he is hopeful the end-of-war declaration will break the current deadlock in talks with North Korea.

In mid-December, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said a formal declaration was not the ultimate goal, but only a step to generating “significant dialogue momentum” with North Korea.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States harbors “no hostile intent” toward the North Korean regime and is prepared to meet with officials from Pyongyang “without precondition.” The US, Price added, hopes North Korea “will respond positively to our outreach.”

Critics, however, have expressed doubt that this end-of-war declaration would have any effect on relations with North Korea’s communist regime. Former US Ambassador to South Korea, retired Admiral Harry Harris said in November that such a declaration is not a peace treaty, therefore the conditions of the armistice would remain unchanged.

Harris, who once lead the US Indo-Pacific Command and the Pacific Fleet, observed that the US treaty obligations to defend South Korea will remain unchanged, as will North Korea’s nuclear and conventional missile capabilities.

Wednesday’s announcement was met with silence from Pyongyang. However, in September, Kim Yo Jong, a senior member of the ruling party and the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, said of a possible end-of-war declaration that Pyongyang appreciated the necessity of such a declaration as a way to establish a system “to ensure peace on the Korean Peninsula.”