Although months of fruitless diplomacy exposed the differences between Seoul and Washington, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is still working hard to declare an end to the Korean War.
Moon Jae-in stated at the UN General Assembly in September, Official declaration to end the warThis war, which lasted from 1950 to the signing of the armistice agreement in 1953, will “mark the key starting point for the establishment of a new order of reconciliation and cooperation on the Korean peninsula.”
But the doubts of Washington, Pyongyang, and Beijing frustrated his long-sought hope for a political legacy as a peacemaker, which illustrates the complexity of reconciling the competing interests of the four parties in the 70-year conflict.
North Korea, China, and the United Nations Command headed by the United States discussed signing a peace treaty within three months of the armistice, but they failed.
“All Koreans have long yearned for peace, prosperity and reunification,” said Moon Jae-in, whose presidency will end in May on Monday. “I will continue to work hard to institutionalize sustainable peace, and I will not stop until the end of my term.”
Gao Myung-hyun, a senior researcher at the Seoul Asan Policy Research Institute, said: “For Moon Jae-in, this is not just a diplomatic strategy. It is also a question of national identity. He hopes to be able to say that the Korean nation is no longer in a state of war and will eventually be reunified. Still on the horizon.”
Moon Jae-in’s proposal is not to sign a legally binding peace treaty. Start the meeting And Pyongyang.
Moon Jung-in, the former special adviser to the president who presided over the Sejong meeting, said: “This proposal represents an effort to end the deadlock, strengthen trust between all parties, and make a breakthrough in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Research Institute think tank.
But some American policymakers worry that such a statement may undermine the legitimacy of Washington’s decades-long military presence on the peninsula. 28,500 U.S. troops Stationed.
“Washington is concerned that the declaration of the end of the war may become an excuse for North Korea and China to question the U.S. military presence not only on the peninsula but also in the region,” said analyst Soo Kim. In the RAND think tank.
In recent weeks, senior South Korean officials have issued a series of optimistic statements.Foreign Minister Zheng Yiyong stated that Seoul and Washington “effectively” reached agreement on the text of the draft declaration, while Moon Jae-in stated Visit Australia Last month, all parties to the war agreed to his proposal “in principle.”
But skeptics insist that the South Korean government has taken a courageous approach to a policy that is difficult to gain traction.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan (Jake Sullivan) once stated that the United States and South Korea “may have some different views on the exact sequence, timing, or conditions of the different steps.”
Soo Kim added: “Seoul wants to declare the end of the war to initiate the process of North Korea taking concrete steps to reduce its nuclear threat, and Washington wants to see the steps taken before it even considers the proposal.
“Korean people like to treat time and sequence issues as nuances, but they are absolutely fundamental and there is no sign that they are being bridged.”
Analysts say that even if Seoul and Washington can resolve their differences, there is almost no sign that North Korea Ready to participate.
Pyongyang insists that any progress in discussing the formal statement depends on Washington’s abandonment of its “Hostile policy“To the north.
Kim Yo-jung, the sister of the North Korean leader, said: “The two-faced attitude, illogical prejudice, bad habits, and hostile stance that need to be discarded justify our actions, and at the same time accuse us of the right to self-defense.” Kim Jong-un said in September – this This is the last time senior members of the regime have commented on the proposal.
Gao Mingxuan said that Wen-eun’s time is running out. “From Pyongyang’s perspective, if the South Koreans elect a president who opposes it, what is the point of signing the declaration on the end of the war?”
Moon’s plan also has Obstructed Due to the deterioration of Sino-US relations.South Korea hoped that the Beijing Winter Olympics in February would provide the background for the negotiation process, but it was undermined by the US leadership. Diplomatic boycott the match of.
Some observers suggested, China welcome For the same reason, many people in the United States opposed its declaration of the end of the war.
But Lee Sang-soo of the Stockholm Institute of Security and Development Policy think tank said that Beijing “is vigilant about any process that may lead to reconciliation between Pyongyang and Washington.”
Li added that Moon Jae-in’s proposal was also opposed by Tokyo. Japan is not a party to the war, but maintains a hard line against the Kim regime.
However, for its supporters, the proposal is both a diplomatic strategy and a moral requirement.
“The pending state of the Korean War is an anomaly and an insult to the people who participated in that war,” said Jessica Lee, a researcher at the Quincy Institute for Responsible State.
Moon Jung-in of the Sejong Institute said: “It’s too early to do things that are decades too late.” “The United States does not want an’eternal war’, nor do we want it.”