Seoul seeks formal end to Korean War this year

South Korea hopes to hold a ceremony at the border village of Panmunjom on July 27, the armistice agreement anniversary, to declare a formal end to the Korean War, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (pictured) said.

While Seoul would like a symbolic proclamation of the end of war this year, it is flexible on the specific timing or format of the event, Kang said.

North Korea and the US discussed this subject during their summit in Singapore last week, the minister said at a press conference held on Monday to mark the first anniversary of her inauguration.

During their historic meeting on June 12, US President Donald Trump and North’s leader Kim Jong-un announced a four-point programme on denuclearisation and improved relations between the two sides. However, the declaration did not make any mention of formally ending the Korean War.

The 1950-53 war ended with an armistice agreement, not a peace treaty, and the two sides are still technically at war. Kang said a formal end to war can start a process to bring lasting peace in the peninsula.

Since China will have a key role to play in this peace process, South Korea will hold close consultations with that country, the minister said.

North Korea and the US will hold more rounds of talks as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be pushing for them fast. All the parties involved in the denuclearisation of the peninsula will have to maintain close coordination on the steps ahead.

Kang said sanctions on North Korea will continue until it takes “substantive” steps towards denuclearisation.