North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s influential sister Kim Yo-jong called the proposal to end the war with South Korea, which has pitted the two countries against each other from 1950 to 1953, an “interesting and admirable idea.”
“I think the declaration of termination of war is an interesting proposal and a good idea in the meaning of terminating physically the unstable cease-fire of the Korean peninsula which has been lasting for a long time and revoking the hostility toward the opponent,” Kim Yo-jong said according to North Korean media outlet KCNA on Sept. 24.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in reiterated the proposal. There is still no official end to the war confrontation that caused the division of original Korea in 1953; only an armistice was signed.
Moon has insisted on ending the war throughout his presidential term, which will end in May 2022. He last alluded to this procedure earlier this week before the UN General Assembly.
In her statement, Yo-jong referred to the proposal before the UN, adding, “We discussed the declaration of termination of war on several occasions in the past as we sympathized with the necessity and significance of the declaration, the foundation for establishing a peace mechanism on the Korean peninsula.”
However, she concludes that the historic period is conditional on a change of attitude and behavior from its southern neighbor; once those conditions are met, it could move forward.
“If the termination of war is declared, it is necessary to ensure respect for each other and withdraw first the biased point of view, serious hostile policy and unequal double standard toward the other side,” Yo-jong also said.
However, there are other outstanding international issues, including the involvement of the United States, which is stationing at least 28,500 troops in South Korea and conducting military drills with its allies.
North Korea interprets this military presence as a precursor to an invasion of its territory.
According to Professor Sung-Yoon Lee of the Fletcher School at Tufts University in Massachusetts, sign-off on ending the war could have permanent political consequences.
“The pressure to dismantle the U.N. Command and to withdraw the U.S. from South Korea would mount in the wake of such a development. This is no secret. North Korea has been calling for a peace treaty with the U.S.,” Lee said, according to Stars and Stripes.
Prior to the comments by leader Jong-un’s influential sister, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Ri Thae-song considered Moon’s call premature, noting that it would be no guarantee that Washington would change its “hostile policy” toward Pyongyang, according to KCNA.
For his part, Moon insisted that the statement would serve to open negotiations on replacing the armistice with a peace treaty for the Korean peninsula, which should be developed, including diplomatic discussions for the denuclearization of the North.