SEOUL –South Korea has been making efforts to declare an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War within this year, the country’s unification minister said Monday.
Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon made the remark during a parliamentary audit of the government ministries, saying Seoul has been making efforts to achieve the goal of making the war-ending declaration within this year.
Cho added that there was a possibility for the achievement “at this moment.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), agreed at their first summit in April to seek an official end to the Korean War.
The Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war as the three-year war ended with an armistice. Seoul has been pushing to replace the armistice with a peace treaty.
The United States has been reluctant to make the war-ending declaration, which Seoul sees as a political declaration, citing what it claimed was the lack of progress in denuclearization talks.
Asked about whether the DPRK leader could visit Seoul within this year, the unification minister said, “Yes.”
After their third summit in Pyongyang last month, Kim agreed with Moon to visit the South Korean capital city at an early date. Moon has said the visit could be possible by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, Cho admitted that there was partly difference in ideas between South Korea and the United States for the inter-Korean cooperation, but he noted that it did not mean the U.S. opposition to the inter-Korean cooperation projects.
Cho said that the United States has been significantly cooperative and that Seoul and Washington has been in the process of consultations.
South Korea and the DPRK agreed in the senior-level talks earlier this month to conduct a joint on-site inspection on the DPRK’s railways in late October to modernize and eventually connect railways across the border.
However, no detailed schedule for the inspection has been decided upon, allegedly because of a rift between Seoul and Washington.
Following the high-level talks, the two Koreas agreed to hold a groundbreaking ceremony in late November or early December to connect railways and roads across the inter-Korean border.