President Moon Jae-in addresses the UN on Wednesday. (Cheong Wa Dae)
President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday again stressed the need to declare the end of the Korean War, and requested the UN’s support.
Addressing the UN General Assembly in the early hours of Wednesday in Korea time, Moon said the time has come to formally end the war and that the move will ensure peace in the region.
“Time has come to remove the tragedy lingering on the Korean Peninsula. The war must end, completely and for good,” Moon said in his speech.
“Peace on the Korean Peninsula will guarantee peace in Northeast Asia as a whole and, going one step further, bring positive changes to the world order as well. I believe it begins with declaring an end to the war, an act that can affirm mutual commitments to peace.”
While US-North Korea denuclearization talks have stalled and inter-Korean relations are deteriorating, the Moon Jae-in administration has called for measures to reassure Pyongyang of the allies’ intentions to seek dialogue and cooperation. One of the biggest moves Seoul hopes to take is to declare the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
“I hope that the UN and the international community provide support so that we can advance into an era of reconciliation and prosperity through the end-of-war declaration,” Moon said.
“The end-of-war declaration will, indeed, open the door to complete denuclearization and permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”
Moon’s call for ending the Korean War, which follows on the heels of vehement criticism of Seoul by Pyongyang, is thought to be aimed at reigniting talks with North Korea, offering Pyongyang a token for reengagement.
Pyongyang has been criticizing Seoul for taking part in a naval drill led by the US, and for pushing to establish a new dialogue channel with the US. The proposed new channel, tentatively named the “alliance dialogue,” would be a working-level channel between Seoul’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Department of State.
Moon also proposed establishing a multilateral body that would include North Korea, in an apparent attempt to draw North Korea onto the international stage.
“I propose today launching a Northeast Asia Cooperation Initiative for Infectious Disease Control and Public Health, whereby North Korea participates as a member along with China, Japan, Mongolia and the Republic of Korea,” Moon said, stressing that matters of national security can no longer be handled by individual countries.
“A cooperative architecture that guarantees collective protection of life and safety will lay the groundwork for North Korea to have its security guaranteed by engaging with the international community.”
Aside from Korean Peninsula issues, Moon once again called for international cooperation to ensure fair distribution of vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, as he had done a day earlier when addressing the high-level meeting marking the 75th anniversary of the UN.
“Nothing is more important than life and safety of humanity. It is evident that the UN’s idea of inclusive multilateralism will first be tested by whether it can distribute COVID-19 vaccines to all nations or not,” Moon said.
“Through global funding, we should facilitate advance purchase of sufficient doses of vaccines for international organizations to ensure that impoverished and developing countries can also share in the benefits.”
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com)