South Korean President Moon Jae-in seeks an end to war declaration and race of developing mass-destruction weapons between the South and North Koreas.
Moon, who was upset by North Korea’s missile tests on Jan 5, 2022, said his government would not give up hopes of reviving peace talks with North Korea.
Interestingly, when North Korea test fired its first missile of the year in Jan 2022, South Korean President was in Goseong town, to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for a rail-line, which will reconnect the divided Korean peninsula.
Moon said, “only dialogue can fundamentally overcome this situation and if both Koreas work together and build trust, peace would be achieved one day.”
After taking office five years ago, South Korean President Moon has made serious efforts to engage North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Both the leaders met three times in 2018, pledging to declare the Korean War – which ended not with a peace treaty, but an armistice in 1953 – over by the end of the year.
But that bid stalled the following year, when a summit between Kim and former US President Donald Trump in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, broke down.
Kim has since rebuffed offers from Trump’s successor to resume talks without preconditions.
In recent months, Moon, who is due to leave office in May, has stepped up efforts to put the peace process back on track, lobbying the US and China – both involved in the Korean War – for their backing to formally declare the conflict over.
In a recent address to the United Nations General Assembly, Moon said if all the major parties involved in the conflict “proclaim an end to the War, I believe we can make irreversible progress in denuclearisation and usher in an era of complete peace”.
The proposal has the support of most of the South Korean public, but has divided experts. Some say it could help break the diplomatic impasse on the Korean peninsula, while others fear it could threaten South Korea’s security, including by undermining the country’s defence alliance with the United States.
‘Political, symbolic measure’
Supporters of an end-of-war declaration say it is only diplomacy that has so far helped reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Christine Ahn, executive director of the advocacy group Women Cross DMZ, notes that the summits between the leaders of the US, South Korea and North Korea in 2018 and 2019 led to Kim imposing a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile testing, the release of three detained Americans, the demining of portions of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, as well as the reunion of separated families.
“It’s time to take the use of force off the table,” Ahn said, describing the proposed end-of-war declaration as a “political, symbolic measure” that can build confidence and create the momentum for a return to talks.