Visit to N. Korea a bold step to end war: Moon

SEOUL • South Korean President Moon Jae-in said yesterday his visit to Pyongyang next month will be a "bold step" towards formally ending the decades-old war with the nuclear-armed North.

The two Koreas agreed earlier this week to hold a third meeting between Mr Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month as a rapid diplomatic thaw builds on the peninsula following their first summit in April.

Mr Moon's trip to the North Korean capital will be the first visit by a South Korean head of state to Pyongyang since 2007.

The leaders will "take a bold step towards declaring an end to the war and a peace treaty", Mr Moon said at a ceremony marking the 73rd anniversary of liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945.

The 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving the two neighbours technically still in a state of conflict.

The signatories to the armistice included the US-led United Nations Command - that fought alongside the South's troops - as well as China and North Korea.

Declaring an end to the war was one of the agreements at a groundbreaking April summit, but little progress has been made, with the United States and North Korea at loggerheads over Pyongyang's denuclearisation.

The US State Department said on Tuesday that while Washington supports "a peace regime", its prime goal was ending North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2018, with the headline 'Visit to N. Korea a bold step to end war: Moon'. Print Edition | Subscribe