By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (Yonhap) -- Rep. Gregory Meeks, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Wednesday expressed support for a South Korea-proposed declaration for the formal end to the Korean War while urging North Korea to return to dialogue.
He, however, said the proposed end of war declaration should come as part of a more "comprehensive process and talks" to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
"I commend the Biden and Moon Administrations for taking steps to engage North Korea and urge North Korea to return to the negotiating table," he said in a statement, referring to U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
"Although I'm supportive of an end of war declaration as part of a comprehensive process and talks, a declaration on its own is meaningless if North Korea is unwilling to engage in talks, is making no progress towards denuclearization, and is actively threatening and endangering U.S. allies and regional stability," said the statement, released by the house committee.
Seoul has been pushing to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, insisting it could work as a catalyst to restart dialogue with North Korea.
Pyongyang has stayed away from denuclearization negotiations since late 2019. It has also ignored all U.S. overtures since the Biden administration took office a year ago on Thursday.
Meeks also condemned North Korea for its recent missile launches, which Pyongyang says included two test launches of a newly developed hypersonic missile.
"I categorically condemn North Korea's tests of two short-range ballistic missiles on Monday. This is the fourth in a series of ballistic missile launches that not only violate international law, but also destabilize the entire region," he said in his statement.
"North Korea must abandon its nuclear ambitions and immediately cease its provocative behavior, which only delays and complicates our ability to chart a path to peace on the Korean peninsula."
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