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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Sept. 24)

All News 06:50 September 24, 2020

Proposal for end-of-war declaration
: NK, international society should cooperate for peace

President Moon Jae-in called for a declaration to the end of the Korea War in a prerecorded speech for the annual United Nations General Assembly session, early Wednesday. He also proposed setting up a cooperative body to fight infection and promote health in Northeast Asia.

"This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean War and now is the time to terminate the tragic situation which remains on the peninsula," Moon said, asking international society and the U.N. to join forces in efforts toward reconciliation and prosperity through the declaration.

Moon noted adopting such declaration was the surest way to guarantee denuclearization and establish a permanent peace regime in the region. His statement can be taken as his unswerving resolve to start the peace process through dialogue among the relevant parties ― especially North Korea and the United States.

Moon's peace initiative has lost steam since the failed summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam early last year. The President also cited the need to declare an end to the war in his speech at the 73rd session of the U.S. General Assembly in 2018.

Moon called for cooperation from the international community this time beyond the efforts of the relevant parties, meaning he is seeking to find a breakthrough to the stalled peace process with the backing of global society.

Moon has one and a half years left of his presidency and the recent proposal came in a desperate bid to make progress in inter-Korean relations. Timely enough, he called for cooperation in the medical, health and infection areas, beyond the international sanctions, in that reclusive North Korea has been suffering from the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and economic sanctions. Moon emphasized that cooperation in dealing with infections and in the medical sector will pave the way for dialogue toward peace on the peninsula.

We welcome Moon's proposal for a cooperative body comprising of both Koreas, China, Mongolia and Japan to boost exchanges for health and medical promotion. Once the participating nations build up trust through such a multinational organization, it will help advance the peace process.

In 2018, Moon visited Pyongyang for a summit with Kim and they came up with a joint statement for easing inter-Korean military tension. But since then the two Koreas have failed to make any progress in relations which turned to their worst when the North dismantled a liaison office in the border village of Gaeseong in June.

North Korea has remained mum on the South's move toward dialogue. The prevailing skeptical view is that Pyongyang is unlikely to attempt dialogue with Seoul and Washington before the November U.S. presidential election. We call on the North to proactively respond to Moon's proposal. International society including the U.S., China and Japan should also fully support Moon's call for peace.

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