North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Ri Thae-song rejects Seoul's offer. Leader Kim Jong-un's sister speaks instead of an "admirable idea," but the right conditions are lacking.
Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - North Korea has rejected South Korean President Moon Jae-in's proposal to declare a formal end to the war between the two countries, which began in 1950. This was announced today by North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Ri Thae-song, adding that it would be "premature" and such a declaration would be meaningless as long as the "hostile policy" of the United States continues.
Moon's proposal came during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week. He explained that a declaration by the two Koreas, the United States and perhaps China would mark a key starting point for the creation of a new regional order with reconciliation of the Korean peninsula as its basis.
Ri, on the other hand, stressed that the consequences of such a gesture could be "disastrous" and lead to an arms race. The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has instead declared that Pyongyang is willing to discuss the improvement of inter-Korean relations, provided that Seoul puts an end to its aggressive attitude towards the North.
However, Kim Yo-jong pointed out that before adopting a declaration of peace, the right context should be created: "The declaration of the termination of the war is an interesting and an admirable idea. ... But it is necessary to look into whether it is the right time now and whether there are conditions ripe for discussing this issue".
Kim maintains, "Now double-dealing standards, prejudice and hostile policies toward the DPRK and speeches and acts antagonizing us persist. Under such situation it does not make any sense to declare the end of the war with all the things, which may become a seed of a war between parties that had been at odds for more than half a century, left intact"
While Vice Foreign Minister Ri Thae-song's previous statement seemed to be geared toward the United States, Kim Yo-jong's statement was seen as being geared more toward South Korea.
Inter-Korean relations cooled when North Korea blew up a liaison office in the border town of Kaesong in June last year and cut all cross-border lines of communication. Contact was then reestablished in July but recently Pyongyang has not returned Seoul's calls protesting joint military exercises with the United States. Tensions then escalated over long-range ballistic and cruise missile tests.
The two Koreas are still technically at war, as the 1950-53 conflict ended with a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.