South Korea’s proposal for a declaration to end the 1950-53 Korean War as a method to establish peace has been rejected by North Korea.
It said such a step could be used as a “smokescreen covering up the US hostile policy” against the North.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in reaffirmed his support for an end-of-war declaration in an address to the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week, saying that it may assist in accomplishing denuclearization and long-term peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Moon’s call, according to North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Ri Thae Song, is premature as long as US policies remain unaltered.
“It should be clearly understood that the declaration of the termination of the war is of no help at all to stabilising the situation of the Korean Peninsula at the moment,” said Song in a statement carried by state media.
“But can rather be misused as a smokescreen covering up the US hostile policy.”
He claimed that US weaponry and personnel stationed in South Korea and its environs, as well as regular US military drills in the area, “all point to the US hostile policy toward (North Korea) getting vicious day by day.”
North Korea has long viewed US-led economic restrictions as evidence of US animosity toward the country.
Later on Friday, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said it would keep working to adopt the end-of-war statement and increase cooperation with associated countries.
Declaring the war to be over would be “a very meaningful step,” according to Cha Duck Chul, a deputy ministry spokeswoman because it would serve as a beginning point for peace talks and denuclearization on the peninsula.
The Korean War came to an end with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula technically at war.
North Korea has long desired to sign a peace treaty with the United States to formally end the war and repair relations.
According to some experts, the peace treaty may allow North Korea to demand that the United States withdraw its 28,500 troops from South Korea and ease sanctions.
During the era of diplomacy with the US that began in 2018, both Koreas had sought for an end-of-war proclamation and the signing of a peace treaty.
Former US President Donald Trump was expected to declare the war’s conclusion in early 2019 in order to persuade North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to agree to denuclearization.
As discussions stalled about reducing sanctions in exchange for North Korea’s denuclearization, no such declaration was made.
North Korea claimed in late 2019 that if the US tried to persuade it to return to the negotiations with a proposal on a war-end declaration without abandoning its hostile policies, the nuclear problem would not be resolved.
In recent months, Kim has threatened that unless the US abandons its hostile stance, North Korea will expand its nuclear arsenal and adopt more sophisticated military systems.