Moon stresses importance of declaration to end Korean War in final UN speech

한겨레 입력 2021. 9. 23. 18:16 수정 2021. 9. 23. 18:26
자동요약 기사 제목과 주요 문장을 기반으로 자동요약한 결과입니다.
전체 맥락을 이해하기 위해서는 본문 보기를 권장합니다.

Stressing that "an end-of-war declaration will mark a pivotal point of departure in creating a new order of 'reconciliation and cooperation' on the Korean Peninsula," he went on to say, "When the parties involved in the Korean War stand together and proclaim an end to the war, I believe we can make irreversible progress in denuclearization and usher in an era of complete peace."

In a UN General Assembly speech delivered in September 2018, following his first summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Panmunjom on April 27 of that year, Moon said, "I look forward to seeing bold measures for denuclearization implemented among the related countries, leading to the declaration to end the war."

글자크기 설정 파란원을 좌우로 움직이시면 글자크기가 변경 됩니다.

이 글자크기로 변경됩니다.

(예시) 가장 빠른 뉴스가 있고 다양한 정보, 쌍방향 소통이 숨쉬는 다음뉴스를 만나보세요. 다음뉴스는 국내외 주요이슈와 실시간 속보, 문화생활 및 다양한 분야의 뉴스를 입체적으로 전달하고 있습니다.

His speech called for the four parties of the two Koreas, the US and China to come together and declare an end to the Korean War, signaling hope that China will play a greater role in ending the conflict
President Moon Jae-in delivers a keynote address at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. (Yonhap News)

In the final address to the UN of his term, South Korean President Moon Jae-in stressed the importance of declaring an end to the Korean War as a way of opening the door to peace on the Korean Peninsula.

In effect, he signaled his commitment to seeing through the Korean Peninsula peace process. But the likelihood of that actually happening appears slim amid the ongoing US-China rivalry and the current chill in inter-Korean relations.

Moon gave a keynote speech at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

“Today, I once again urge the community of nations to mobilize its strengths for the end-of-war declaration on the Korean Peninsula and propose that three parties of the two Koreas and the US, or four parties of the two Koreas, the US and China come together and declare that the war on the Korean Peninsula is over,” he said.

Stressing that “an end-of-war declaration will mark a pivotal point of departure in creating a new order of 'reconciliation and cooperation' on the Korean Peninsula,” he went on to say, “When the parties involved in the Korean War stand together and proclaim an end to the war, I believe we can make irreversible progress in denuclearization and usher in an era of complete peace.”

The “parties involved in the Korean War” are South and North Korea, the US, and China, while the signatories to the Armistice Agreement are North Korea, the US and China.

This was the third time Moon mentioned or called for a declaration ending the Korean War in a speech before the UN General Assembly.

In a UN General Assembly speech delivered in September 2018, following his first summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Panmunjom on April 27 of that year, Moon said, “I look forward to seeing bold measures for denuclearization implemented among the related countries, leading to the declaration to end the war.”

In another speech to the UN General Assembly delivered online in September 2020, he said, “The end-of-war declaration will, indeed, open the door to complete denuclearization and [a] permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”

Moon’s view is that a declaration ending the war is essential as a measure to “prime the pump” for permanent denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

But the chances of such a declaration coming about before he leaves office appear quite low. Both inter-Korean and North Korea-US relations have been deadlocked ever since the collapse of the second North Korea-US summit in Hanoi in February 2019.

Moon’s reasons for broaching the declaration topic in spite of this are worth examining from multiple angles.

To begin with, he appeared to be signaling his commitment to continuing top-down efforts to break through the current impasse through summit diplomacy, even with just over five months remaining until the next South Korean presidential election on March 9 of next year.

His strategic aim could be seen as being to impress the importance of such a declaration on North Korea, the US, China and the rest of the international community as a steppingstone toward permanent and complete peace on the peninsula, regardless of its practical feasibility at the moment.

Moon also said that South Korea remained “fully committed to doing its part” to “ensure a complete, lasting peace will begin taking firm root on the Korean Peninsula.”

Another notable part of his latest UN speech was its new mention of “the three parties of the two Koreas and the US, or four parties of the two Koreas, the US and China” as the parties to an end-of-war declaration.

On the surface, his message reads as a reiteration of Article 3 Paragraph 3 of the Panmunjom Declaration of April 27, 2018, with its reference to “trilateral meetings involving the two sides [South and North Korea] and the United States, or quadrilateral meetings involving the two sides, the United States and China.”

But it also should be noted that Moon did not specify the parties to an end-of-war declaration in his UN General Assembly speeches in 2018 and 2020.

The Moon administration has been emphasizing a declaration involving four rather than three parties, as the major shifts in the Korean Peninsula situation over the past few years have centered around the three parties of South and North Korea and the US, as well with the three inter-Korean summits in 2018, the two North Korea-US summits in 2018 and 2019, and the first-ever trilateral meeting of the South and North Korean and US leaders at Panmunjom on June 30, 2019.

Moon’s latest reference to a four-party approach to an end-of-war declaration could be read as a diplomatic signal of Seoul’s hopes for Beijing to play a role.

While he did not say so outright, his remarks could reflect anticipation of a more active role from China and greater efforts toward cooperation between South Korea and China, in a “strategic adjustment” that could furnish a new driving force for breaking through the peninsula’s political impasse.

Under this scenario, the Winter Olympics in Beijing next February could provide a new stage for summit diplomacy along the same lines as the one the previous Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang provided in 2018.

But the outlook is not favorable.

The basic reasons that the end-of-war declaration has yet to come about — despite the South and North Korean leaders’ agreement in the Panmunjom Declaration and the North Korea and US leaders’ “reaffirmation” of that declaration in their Singapore Joint Statement on June 12, 2018 — are the growing distrust between Pyongyang and Washington and the half-hearted stance from the US.

The US has never explicitly opposed declaring an end to the Korean War.

Calling on Iran to return to the two sides’ nuclear deal in his own UN General Assembly speech Tuesday, US President Joe Biden said, “Similarly, we seek serious and sustained diplomacy to pursue the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

“We seek concrete progress toward an available plan with tangible commitments that would increase stability on the Peninsula and in the region, as well as improve the lives of the people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” he continued.

But Washington has historically dragged its feet when it comes to an end-of-war declaration for Korea, viewing any such declaration as having the potential to undercut its rationale for stationing its troops in South Korea — a key military component of its strategy to establish predominance.

Pyongyang, for its part, has not publicly mentioned the need for an end-of-war declaration since the breakdown of the Hanoi summit.

But its attitude toward such a declaration is favorable, as evidenced by the Panmunjom Declaration. On Sept. 4, 2018, the director of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry’s Institute for Disarmament and Peace referred to an end-of-war declaration as the “first process in building a permanent and robust peace regime” on the Korean Peninsula.

In the end, it comes down to the US.

A South Korean senior official said Wednesday that “North Korea’s response will be crucial,” but another veteran figure in the area of foreign affairs and national security said, “It wouldn’t be overstating things to say that the US holds the key to an end-of-war declaration.”

By Lee Je-hun, senior staff writer

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

Copyright © 한겨레. 무단전재 및 재배포 금지.

이 기사에 대해 어떻게 생각하시나요?