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S. Korea, U.S. in speedy, serious discussions on end-of-war declaration proposal: official

North Korea 17:40 October 28, 2021

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Oct. 28 (Yonhap) -- With regard to the sensitive issue of declaring a formal end to the Korean War, South Korea and the United States are holding "fast-paced and serious" discussions in a "mutually desirable" direction, a South Korean government official said Thursday.

He was seeking to assuage worries about the fate of Seoul's proposal for the end-of-war declaration, which it hopes to use as part of efforts to resume dialogue with North Korea and reboot the long-stalled Korea peace process.

Media outlets here have paid keen attention to White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan's remarks earlier this week on the matter.

"We may have somewhat different perspectives on the precise sequence or timing or conditions for different steps," he told reporters, sparking speculation that the Joe Biden administration may have a negative view on South Korea's push for the immediate declaration of a formal end to the 1950-53 war, which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

South Korea, however, has emphasized the allies are on the same page over their ultimate goal of getting the Korean Peninsula denuclearized and establishing lasting peace.

"Fast-faced and serious discussions (between the two sides) have been underway in a mutually desirable way," a senior foreign ministry said, requesting anonymity.

He acknowledged some differences between Seoul and Washington on details of the war-ending declaration issue.

Nonetheless, diplomacy is a process to narrow a gap and expand "common ground," he added, citing a string of high-level discussions between the allies since President Moon Jae-in reiterated the suggestion at the U.N. General Assembly session in September that the two Koreas and the U.S., possibly joined by China, proclaim an end to the war in a highly symbolic and political gesture for building trust. The North has called on the U.S. to retract what it calls "hostile policy."

Ahn Eun-joo, the ministry's vice spokesperson, also said it is a matter that "can be resolved" through diplomatic consultations.

According to an informed source, the allies are in consultations on the wording in the draft of the envisioned declaration.

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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