Choi Jong-kun, South Korea's first vice foreign minister, speaks to reporters upon arriving at Washington's Dulles International Airport on Sunday. (Yonhap)
There will be “good results” in the Seoul-Washington discussions on declaring the end of the Korean War, First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun said Sunday in the US, ruling out a potential rift between the allies in regards to the matter.
Speaking in Washington, Choi said he expects to see a “good result soon,” in regards to the ongoing discussions with the US on Seoul’s proposal for an end-of-war declaration.
Choi is in Washington to hold series of talks, including a bilateral session with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Tuesday and three-way talks with Sherman and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori the next day.
“South Korea and the US do not differ on the push for an end-of-war declaration, and they have been discussing details on when and how to do this,” Choi told reporters at Washington’s Dulles International Airport. “It’s the year-end season and I think there will be a good result soon.”
Choi said he expects the result to come out soon, and that the next step is to make the proposal to North Korea.
“What’s important is how Pyongyang will respond (to the proposal),” he said adding how to get that response is another task for the allies.
There have been series of high-level talks between Seoul and Washington officials in recent months, following up on President Moon Jae-in renewed push for an end-of war-declaration in September -- in a last-ditch attempt to salvage the stalled peace process on the Korean Peninsula before he leaves office in May.
The two Koreas are technically still at war, as the Korean War concluded not in a peace treaty but in an armistice agreement signed by the US-led United Nations Command, China and North Korea.
Seoul sees the end-of-war declaration as a trust-building political gesture that could serve as a starting point to resume the stalled talks with Pyongyang.
Hinting at a possible disaccord with Seoul, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan, however, said last month that the allies “may have somewhat different perspectives on the precise sequence or timing or conditions for different steps” in regards to the end-of-war declaration.
Brushing off such discrepancies, South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong last week told the parliament that coordination between Seoul and Washington over the end-of-war declaration is in its final stages. He, however, acknowledged that adopting the declaration will not be as easy.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org