July 12, 2018 10:44
President Moon Jae-in says Seoul is in close consultations with Pyongyang and Washington over when and how to declare an end to the Korean War.
Moon told the Straits Times of Singapore in an interview published Wednesday that Seoul's goal is to declare an end to the war this year, the 65th anniversary of the armistice that halted fighting.
Right after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit last week, the North Korean Foreign Ministry accused Washington of trying to delay peace talks.
This seems to have prompted Seoul to resume go-between efforts between the U.S. and North Korea, whose denuclearization talks have reached an early impasse.
The Foreign Ministry here is of the opinion that it is unwise to separate peace talks from the denuclearization process.
"The priority should be given to helping to get a big picture for talks, including both denuclearization and a peace treaty," a government official here said. "We also need to know in what context Pyongyang proposed a declaration ending the war to Pompeo."
Meanwhile, Moon arrived at Changi Airport in Singapore for a three-day state visit on Wednesday evening after winding up a four-day state visit to India. He meets with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday.
In his interview with the daily, Moon clarified his position on the U.S. Forces Korea and the joint South Korea-U.S. military drills, saying the suspension of joint drills with the U.S. is meant to build "trust" in order to continue dialogue.
Asked about the possibility of U.S. troops' withdrawal from South Korea, he said the USFK's presence is a separate matter from the suspension of joint drills.
He said the U.S. and South Korea remain "firm" on the role and importance of the USFK for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.
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