This EPA file photo shows the US Congress building in Washington. (EPA-Yonhap)
WASHINGTON -- A US lawmaker proposed a bill on Thursday that calls for US efforts to declare a formal end to the Korean War and exchange liaison offices with North Korea.
The bill, proposed by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), also seeks to require the State Department to consider lifting its travel ban on North Korea for Korean Americans with separated families in the North.
"The United States should pursue a sustained and credible diplomatic process to achieve an end to the Korean War, and every effort should be made to avoid military confrontation with North Korea," says the bill, titled "Peace on the Korean Peninsula Act."
The 1950-53 war ended only with an armistice, not a peace agreement, technically leaving South and North Korea at war to date.
"The persistence of a state of war does not serve the national interest of the United States and its allies," the bill said.
The proposed bill comes amid a visit by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has repeatedly voiced a need to formally end the Korean War.
Moon arrived here Wednesday and is set to hold a bilateral meeting with President Joe Biden on Friday.
The bill also calls on the United States to engage with North Korea to improve their relations and establish a permanent channel of communication.
"The Secretary of State should seek to enter into negotiations with the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea to establish liaison offices of the DPRK and the United States in the respective capitals of each such country," it said, citing a 2018 agreement, in which they agreed to establish new relationship of peace between the two countries.
In the historic agreement, signed in Singapore by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and former US President Donald Trump, Kim also agreed to fully denuclearize his country.
Kurt Campbell, White House policy coordinator for Asia, earlier said the Biden administration will build on the Singapore agreement and others to achieve its ultimate goal of completely denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
The proposed bill also calls on the Secretary of State to review US travel restrictions on North Korea to see if "compelling humanitarian considerations" could warrant a trip to the North by Korean-Americans with separated families in the reclusive nation.
"One major consequence of the continuation of the Korean War is that the United States does not have formal relations with North Korea, which has prevented Korean Americans with relatives in North Korea from seeing their families," said the bill, adding, "Approximately 100,000 Americans have relatives living in North Korea."
The bill, if passed, will require the State Secretary to review US travel restrictions currently in place and report to Congress within 180 days of its enactment. (Yonhap)