North Korea says hope is alive for peace summit with South Korea

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South Korea welcomed the possibility on Sunday, with the unification ministry saying it hoped to engage swiftly in talks with Pyongyang, while urging the need to restore a hotline link between the two.

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Kim’s remarks came after the North urged the United States and South Korea last week to drop its hostile policy and double standards towards it if formal talks on ending the 1950-53 Korean War were to take place.

North Korea’s discovery of nuclear weapons has complicated the question of a formal end to the war, which halted with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving US-led United Nations forces technically still at war with the North.

“I think that only when fairness and respect for each other are maintained, there can be a smooth understanding between the North and the South,” said Kim Yo Jong, a powerful confidant of his brother.

Kim said the constructive discussions provided an opportunity for resolution on issues such as “re-establishment of the North-South Joint Liaison Office and the North-South Summit, to say nothing of the timely declaration of a significant end to the war”.

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for a formal end to the war, but later said the time for such progress was over before his term ended in May. was happening.

North Korea has been demanding an end to the war for decades, but the United States has been reluctant to agree unless it gives up nuclear weapons.
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In Saturday’s remarks, Kim said he noted with interest the intense discussion in the South over the possibility of a renewed formal announcement.

“I realized that the atmosphere of the South Korean people, which seeks to recover inter-Korean relations from the impasse and achieve peaceful stability as soon as possible, is remarkably strong,” she said. “We wish the same.”

On Sunday, responding to the comments, Seoul’s unification ministry said in a statement, “For these discussions, the inter-Korean communication line must first be swiftly restored, as smooth and stable communication is critical.”

The hotline maintained by South Korea’s military to handle ties with Pyongyang has not operated since August, as North Korea stopped responding to calls.

Talks with the United States have been stalled since 2019, when hopes were raised for a declaration of an end to the war ahead of the historic summit of former US Presidents Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore, even though there was no actual treaty. Be.

But that prospect, and the momentum the leaders created in the three meetings, was nothing.

In his speech to the United Nations, US President Joe Biden said he seeks “continued diplomacy” to resolve the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea has rejected a US offer on talks and the head of the UN nuclear watchdog said this week its nuclear program was “absolutely ahead”.


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