North Korea and China signalled their willingness to reach a peaceful agreement to officially put an end to Korea’s bloody war of 1950-1953.
South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, broke the news on Monday at a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Canberra. He continued to be cautiously optimistic that an official declaration of end-of war would help to open up a wider normalization process between the North-South.
However, officials in Pyongyang made it clear earlier in September that any talks on peace were contingent on the US first doing away with its “hostile policy” toward North Korea. The DPRK is not happy with South Korea’s presence, joint military exercises, and the sanctions placed on North Korea for its nuclear and missile programs and the regular US troop deployments.
Moon reiterated Monday that North Korea still regards this as a precondition for negotiations. US insists that Pyongyang must cease its nuclear weapons program before sanctions can be lifted. Moon admitted that, for the time being, the warring sides “they are unable to meet for discussion or negotiations on the declaration.”
Back in October, National Security Advisor to president Joe Biden, Jake Sullivan, acknowledged that while Washington and Seoul were “Totally aligned around the strategic initiative core.” the two allies may still have “There are many perspectives that can be offered on how to determine the exact sequence, timing and conditions of different steps.”
China, the North’s supporter in wars 1950-53, pledged its support to peace efforts on the Korean peninsula. According to South Korean media using diplomatic sources,
Moon, who became South Korea’s president back in 2017, promised at the start of his term to “Do everything! [his] Power” to reach a permanent peace between the South and the North, which have technically been at war ever since the early 1950s.
Close to 5 million died during the conflict that began on June 25, 1950, when North Korean communist forces invaded South Carolina. The US-led coalition intervened to push back the North invaders. Several months later, China came to the communist side’s rescue, with substantial technical support also coming from the Soviet Union. The conflict ended in an impasse, and in July 1953 was signed the armistice.