The South Korean president promised to seek an ‘irreversible path to peace’ with North Korea

President Moon Jae-in says meaningful peace with North Korea can’t be achieved without some kind of formal agreement. A peace deal between the two nations was not signed at the end of the Korean War in the 1950s.

“I will not stop efforts to institutionalize sustainable peace,” Moon said in a New Year’s message on Monday.

According to Yonhap, the president appeared to be referring to the potential adoption of a declaration what would formally end the Korean War. The conflict, which raged between 1950 and 1953, ended with an internationally brokered armistice and the creation of a demilitarized zone separating the North and South.

A formal peace deal is seen as a key element in the normalization of ties between Pyongyang and Seoul.

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“If we resume dialogue and cooperation, the international community will respond,” Moon, whose single five-year term expires in May, said. “The government will pursue normalization of inter-Korean relations and an irreversible path to peace until the end.”

“Peace is an essential prerequisite for prosperity. But, peace tends to be shaken if it is not institutionalized,” he added.

Moon has held several summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during his presidency.

However, talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula effectively stalled after then-US President Donald Trump failed to reach a deal with Kim during a meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2019. Pyongyang has since carried out several missile tests, prompting condemnation from the West.

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