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S. Korea seeking to end armistice, establish permanent peace

South Korea is seeking to end an armistice left by the 1950-53 Korean War and build a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, Seoul's unification ministry said Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday extended his "blessing" to the Koreas, which appear to be discussing a peace treaty to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War when their leaders meet for a summit next Friday.

"The two Koreas discussed the issue of ending the armistice at a summit in October 2007," Baik Tae-hyun, a ministry spokesman, told a press briefing. "The government is making efforts to declare an end to the war and set up a permanent peace regime."

The Peace House in the border village of Panmunjom (Yonhap)
The Peace House in the border village of Panmunjom (Yonhap)

A joint declaration adopted after the 2007 summit stipulated that South and North Korea both recognize the need to end the current armistice regime and build a permanent peace regime.

"The South and the North have also agreed to work together to advance the matter of having the leaders of the three or four parties directly concerned to convene on the Peninsula and declare an end to the war," the declaration says.

President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un plan to meet at the border truce village, a site that symbolizes inter-Korean division. It will be the third inter-Korean summit, following meetings in 2000 and 2007.

South Korea and the United States may seek to sign a peace treaty with North Korea if the communist state completely gives up its nuclear ambitions, Seoul's top security adviser said Wednesday.

North Korea's official newspaper Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary that the upcoming summit will be a remarkable event in the history of the national unification movement.

The North's media reported on April 10 that Kim chaired a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea's political bureau, presenting the party's future policy of international relations ahead of his summits with Moon and US President Donald Trump.

It marked the first time that state media carried a commentary on the meaning of the inter-Korean summit, a move seen as aimed at educating North Koreans ahead of key political events.

Meanwhile, Baik said that Seoul and Washington are in close discussion over the summit when asked whether the South was aware of Mike Pompeo's recent visit to North Korea. Pompeo is the new United States secretary of state nominee.

Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, made the trip as an envoy of Trump over Easter weekend to discuss the planned Trump-Kim summit, following his nomination, The Washington Post reported.

"The South and the US are in close consultation over the summit. Discussions between the US and North Korea are also reportedly underway," Baik said, declining to elaborate. (Yonhap)
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