Director of South Korea's National Security Office Seo Hoon reiterated on Thursday (local time) on his visit to the United States that Seoul seeks to ensure that an end-of-war declaration and North Korea's denuclearization go hand in hand. He seemingly intends to calm criticism that the South Korean government strains unreasonably hard to achieve the declaration of the end of war even amid lack of progress in the North's denuclearization process.
Asked by a reporter if any consensus on an end-of-war declaration was built between Seoul and Washington after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held on Thursday at the State Department in Washington, Director Seo answered, "There cannot be any difference in our views on the issue which has always been on the negotiating table. It is a commonsense fact that we should not separate the issue of declaring an end of war from denuclearization.” Seo added, however, that his discussion with Secretary Pompeo did not dedicate much to the matter.
To the question if Seoul plans to take an independent approach to inter-Korean relations, Seo replied, “All the significant issues such as the inter-Korean relations require us to have constant discussions with the U.S. and our neighboring nations. This is how we have always been doing.”
Seo assessed that the two nations confirmed and agreed during his visit to Washington that their steadfast alliance has been kept intact perfectly and carefully. “It is desirable that Seoul and Washington work on reaching an agreement on defense cost-sharing: at a point that is mutually acceptable; in reasonable manner; and as soon as possible,” he added.