Seoul's chief nuclear negotiator Noh Kyu-duk says declaring a formal end to the 1950-to-53 Korean War is the best symbolic way to show there's no hostility toward the regime, and it could significantly add momentum to a resumption of talks.
Speaking at a forum in Seoul on Monday, the diplomat noted that North Korea has been demanding the U.S. end what it calls a "hostile policy" as a pre-condition for talks since the 2019 Hanoi summit fell apart.
He added that America's longest war is, in fact, the Korean War, not Afghanistan, because the Korean War ended in an armistice and 68 years later there's still not been a peace negotiation.
In that sense, he said the end-of-war declaration is meaningful as a means to build trust with the North, and added that he had in-depth discussions on the issue with his U.S. counterpart Sung Kim on Sunday.
Earlier, Kim told reporters he looks forward to exploring "different ideas," including the proposal.
"I look forward to continuing to work with special representative Noh to explore different ideas and initiatives, including the ROK's end-of-war proposal, as we continue to pursue our shared objectives on the Peninsula."
North Korea responded to the proposal by the South last month, but as a pre-condition for ending the war, it demanded an end to "double standards" and the so-called "hostile policy."
Sources say South Korea and the U.S. are preparing an outline of the proposal for potential adoption, but the U.S. has not announced a specific stance on the issue or other details.
"The U.S. can consider the possibility of moving with South Korea to work on an end-of-war declaration, but it is likely to be contingent on a lot of other factors, including how North Korea would respond, and what this means for the alliance relationship."
Reports say the U.S. is carefully reviewing the potential impact of the proposal.
In the meantime, experts say all the various factors and possible impact have to be considered if the declaration is to be adopted.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.