Ambassador Cho Hyun answers questions at the parliamentary audit on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
The South Korean government is not seeking to declare the end of the Korean War without denuclearization by the North, Seoul’s envoy to the UN said Wednesday.
“I don’t think declaring an end to the war is being sought without a resolution to the denuclearization issue,” Ambassador Cho Hyun said at the parliamentary audit of diplomatic missions via video link.
“The government’s position is that permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula and complete denuclearization are two goals that cannot be compromised. The government’s position is that one cannot be sacrificed to achieve the other.”
The matter of declaring the end of the 1950-53 Korean War has surfaced as a sticking point for the ruling and opposition parties following President Moon Jae-in’s address to the UN last month. In the address on Sept. 23, a day after a South Korean civil servant was killed by North Korean soldiers, Moon called for the international community’s support for an official declaration of the end of the war. Moon again emphasized the need to formally end the war in his address to the Korea Society on Oct. 8, and asked for support from within the US.
In Wednesday’s audit, Cho also emphasized that Seoul is trying to bring international attention to the killing, in response to opposition lawmakers’ calls to deal with the matter on the international stage.
Cho said he had brought up the issue at the UN, and had demanded that North Korea restore communication lines with the South and investigate the circumstances of the killing.
Cho also said that taking the case to the International Criminal Court would be difficult, but that he would monitor the developments.
Regarding the new strategic weapons North Korea revealed at a recent military parade, Cho said Pyongyang’s move highlighted the importance of the peace process.
“As (the North’s weapons) raise serious concerns, I thought that we need to lead North Korea into the peace process to establish permanent peace,” Cho said.
When asked to put the matter of additional sanctions on North Korea to the UN Security Council, Cho said that was an issue to be decided by consensus within the council, which South Korea is not a member of.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com)