June 04, 2018 11:38
Chances are growing that the U.S., South and North Korea will begin discussing a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War over six decades since fighting stopped.
After meeting with North Korean leader's right-hand man Kim Yong-chol last Friday, Trump said, "We talked about ending the war. And you know, this war has been going on -- it's got to be the longest war -- almost 70 years, right? And there is a possibility of something like that. That's more of a signing of a document that it’s very important in one way. Historically, it's very important. But we’ll see."
President Moon Jae-in has proposed a trilateral summit in Singapore to coincide with a U.S.-North Korea summit there on June 12, but Washing failed to respond so far.
But Moon is unlikely to get on the next plane to Singapore. "Nothing has been decided yet about a trip to Singapore or a trilateral summit," a presidential official said Sunday.
The war effectively ended in 1953 with an armistice to which the U.S., South Korea, North Korea and China are signatories.
Cheong Wa Dae expects a political declaration that will remove hostility ahead of the signing of a legally binding peace treaty. Precedent is hard to find, so it remains to be seen what happens to the status of the U.S. Forces Korea, the UN Command that oversees the armistice, the Combined Forces Command, and the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border.
Senior South Korean and U.S. government officials desperately want the USFK to be kept out of any peace treaty. It is stationed here under a separate mutual defense treaty from October 1953.
The USFK issue "is not on the table here in Singapore on the 12th [of June], nor should it be," U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said on Friday.
But if a peace treaty is signed, the UNC's raison d'être disappears, and the USFK, which actually runs the UNC, will have to decide whether to disband it or replace it with another structure with a different role.
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