South Korean President Moon Jae-in reaffirmed his intention to end the war between the two Koreas and to establish permanent peace, which he said could be achieved with the denuclearization of North Korea.
A report in the South Korean newspaper Munhwa Ilbo published Tuesday indicated that Seoul was considering officially ending the Korean war, which currently stands at a technical stalemate as no peace treaty was ever signed. According to CNBC’s translation of the report, officials from both sides of the demarcation line are considering releasing a joint statement marking an official end to hostilities, an unnamed South Korean official told the newspaper.
“Kim and Moon could also discuss returning the heavily-fortified demilitarized zone separating them to its original state,” CNBC says the source told Munhwa Ilbo.
“The complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the most urgent task that lies before us and a task we must complete peacefully,” Moon said, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News. Moon reportedly made the statement during a Buddhist prayer service ahead of his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, scheduled to occur at the third inter-Korean summit on Friday, April 27.
The historic meeting, the first since 2007, between the two leaders will take place at the border village of Panmunjom.
“I ask you to pray with a sincere hope to remove confrontation and division,” Moon said.
Moon added that the goal of the summit is “to bring down the wall between the South and the North and build a path to co-existence and joint development. Separated families must be allowed to reunite, exchange greetings and freely visit each other.”
North and South Korea have been divided by the 38th parallel since 1945, after World War II came to an end and Japan’s 35-year rule over the peninsula with it. As Haaretz notes, “Pyongyang and Seoul have technically been at war since the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.”
According to Haaretz, the two Koreas are discussing releasing a joint statement at the summit which could be called the April 27 declaration or the Panmunjom declaration. It will reportedly focus on seeing the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and improving relations between the two Koreas and the United States, among other countries.
On Monday, North Korea reportedly highlighted its decades-long ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran and defended the Iran nuclear deal in an apparent move to strengthen its bargaining power against denuclearization.
“Iran is receiving full support from its people as Tehran is building up its defense capabilities without being disturbed,” North Korea’s official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, reportedly wrote.
President Donald Trump has stated his intentions to scrap the nuclear deal with Iran, which came to fruition under former President Barack Obama.
Friday’s inter-Korean summit will be followed by a meeting between Trump and Kim in May or June.