South Korea, North Korea, the United States and China have agreed "in principle" to declare a formal end to the 1950 to 1953 Korean War, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Dec. 13, The Guardian reported.
He added that Seoul would push for the declaration to happen, Yonhap News Agency further reported.
Moon was speaking at a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison following bilateral summit talks held in Canberra during his four-day visit to Australia.
No peace treaty signed
The Korean War started on Jun. 25, 1950, when North Korean forces, supported by the Soviet Union and China, stormed through the 38th parallel into South Korea, in hopes to unify the Korean peninsular.
The U.S. military joined the South Korean troops and managed to push back North Korean forces.
The conflict was brought to an end as North and South Korea signed the Korean Armistice Agreement on Jul. 27, 1953.
However, no peace treaty was signed between the two countries, and the Korean War officially continues till today.
North's objection to U.S. hostility hampers negotiations
According to Moon, any progress on formally ending the war was held back by North Korea's objections to what they said was U.S.' hostility against them, Forbes reported.
It was against this backdrop that the parties involved were unable to negotiate on the declaration to end the war.
He added that the seven-decade long armistice between the two countries was not stable, and that a formal peace declaration could spur discussions with Pyongyang regarding its nuclear weapons programme, Forbes reported.
North Korea previously rejected idea
This was not the first time Moon has proposed to formally end the Korean War.
When the proposal was raised in September, Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, described Moon's proposal as an "admirable idea", but only if Seoul stops its supposed hostility towards Pyongyang, Yonhap News Agency reported.
Kim said that North Korea was willing to discuss improving inter-Korean relations but stressed that the right conditions should be created first before a formal declaration is adopted.
According to her, one of the conditions was the removal of "inveterate hostile policy and unequal double standards" towards the North, Yonhap News Agency reported.
Her statement came after North Korea's vice foreign minister Ri Thae Song described the proposal as "something premature", and that it would only be "nothing more than a scrap of paper" if U.S. hostility against the North remained unchanged.
To engage or not to engage
According to The Guardian, opinion is split in South Korea and the U.S. on whether it's wise to engage with North Korea while the isolated country carries on with its nuclear weapons programme.
While this might encourage North Korea to return to stalled nuclear talks, some thought it would be enabling the regime's provocative behaviour, which might grow even more threatening towards U.S. and South Korea.
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