Go to contents

Would Seoul propose the declaration of the end of the Korean War?

Would Seoul propose the declaration of the end of the Korean War?

Posted June. 26, 2020 07:39,   

Updated June. 26, 2020 07:39


Although it must have meant that there should be no more war on the Korean Peninsula, South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s speech on Thursday at an event to mark the 70th anniversary of the Korean War, which emphasized the inter-Korean cooperation through dialogues, is deemed too premature. North Korea engaged in reckless provocations, threatening South Korea for the entire month of June on the excuse of propaganda leaflets sent to the North and blowing up the inter-Korean joint liaison office in Kaesong. It was just one day ago when Kin Jong Un showed the ultimate arrogance by demonstrating that his order to hold off provocations can control the political situation on the Korean Peninsula.

“South Korean should strengthen its role as a driver of the Korean Peninsula and declare the end of the Korean War,” Kim Tae-nyeon, the floor leader of the Democratic Party of Korea, said on Thursday. “To maintain peace ourselves, the ceasefire agreement should be terminated and a permanent peace system should be built on the Korean Peninsula,” First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Jo Se-yeong said on Wednesday. “I am going to meet with the United Nations officials in charge of North Korea sanctions and make strong demands to partially ease them, such as humanitarian assistance,” Song Young-gil, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee, said on Thursday. As soon as Kim Jong Un put military provocations on hold, the ruling party has proposed to ease North Korea sanctions and declare the end of the war, as if shedding tears of gratitude. There was no voice of concern about Korean War POWs who tried to protect their home country with their lives but ended up being detained in North Korea, even on the 70th anniversary of the war.

North Korea has succeeded in drawing attention to negotiate with the U.S. by making provocations against South Korea. In this respect, the South Korean government’s repeated behavior of looking away from the North’s denuclearization issue and undermining the efforts of the international community to enforce North Korea sanctions through independent inter-Korean cooperation is practically rewarding the North’s provocations. It may give a wrong signal that such provocations are acceptable if the government does not ask for the North’s responsibility for exploding the liaison office, which was built with South Korean taxpayers’ money, and only presents appeasement gestures.

The U.S. is insistent that there will be no declaration of the end of the Korean War or easing of the sanctions without North Korea’s denuclearization. The declaration of the end of the Korean War also may weaken the grounds for the United States Forces Korea to stay. If the South Korean government remains stubborn with its impatience toward North Korea – let alone working even more closely with the U.S. in response to the North’s armed provocations – the alliance between South Korea and the U.S. will fall into crisis. This is not the time to go over the list of presents to pursue an unconditional meeting with the North. North Korea policies and denuclearization strategy should be reexamined fundamentally to find out what has gone wrong for denuclearization possibility to be lost? The smell of gunpowder used by the North to explode the liaison office on June 16 is still lingering.

Young-Sik Kim spear@donga.com