The cold war mentality that has endured on the Korean peninsula over the last seven decades must come to an end through an official declaration of the end of the Korean war, a senior member of the South’s parliament said ahead of a landmark summit in Pyongyang next week.
Ahn Gyu-baek, chairman of the national defence committee of the South Korean National Assembly, said the next steps must be the simultaneous signing of a peace treaty and North Korea’s denuclearisation.
He said he expected a significant outcome from South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s three-day visit to Pyongyang to meet his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un, which starts on Tuesday.
“There have been many concrete conversations about declaring the end of the war at the formal and informal working talks [with the North Koreans] to elevate our level of trust and reaffirm our dedication on working towards denuclearisation,” Ahn told the South China Morning Post.
He suggested Moon and Kim might announce a significant deal regarding the two Koreas’ armed forces at the upcoming summit.
Over the last few weeks, the two sides have been discussing ways to reduce military tension on the peninsula, including plans to scale back the number of guard posts and amount of military equipment along the heavily fortified border.
“This is the perfect timing for ending the cold war on the peninsula and accepting [North Korea] as a companion … The upcoming inter-Korean summit will lay the groundwork for declaring the end of the war,” Ahn said, noting that the declaration is likely to be made by the end of this year.
The Korean war ended in 1953 after an armistice was signed – by China, the United Nations Command and North Korea – but no formal peace agreement was made.
“If each player works hard to establish mutual trust among one another, the declaration will be possible,” Ahn said.
“When President Moon goes to the North Korean capital as a mediator between the North…
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