North Korea pressed its demand on Friday that Washington agree to declare an end to the 1950-53 Korean War, amid announcements that State Secretary Mike Pompeo, was preparing for his fourth visit to the North, The New York Times reported.
Pompeo has been struggling to follow up on the agreement reached between Trump and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, when they met in Singapore in June in the first summit meeting between their nations. Back then, Kim committed to work toward the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday said that negotiations between the United States and North Korea have recently gained “speed,” with Pompeo planning to visit North Korea again. Meanwhile, Pompeo said that his team was “continuing to make progress” with the North Koreans, hoping that “we can make a big step here before too long.”
“We’re continuing to engage in conversation with them about a path forward to a brighter future for the North Koreans,” Pompeo said Thursday during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, commending Pyongyang for not conducting any nuclear or missile tests since late last year.
South Korean officials have also said that Moon has scheduled his own visit to Pyongyang in September to discuss improving inter-Korean relations with Kim after Pompeo’s fourth trip to the North. On Wednesday, Moon proposed a bold expansion of economic cooperation with North Korea, including reconnecting the rail systems of the two Koreas.
However, the latest obstacle in negotiations has been over North Korea’s demand that the United States join the two Koreas in declaring an end to the Korean War. While the conflict has been halted with an armistice that was signed in 1953,the North demands that Washington negotiates a peace treaty to formally end the war.
According to the New York Post, Moon has “unofficially” sent a message to Washington this week, and next month, as world leaders gather for their annual United Nations Summit, he hopes to sign a pact to “end the war with North Korea and China.”
Meanwhile, for the first time in 13 years, the U.S. may soon send teams into North Korea to search for remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the Korean War, Washington Post writes. That’s encouraging news for the families of many long-lost loved ones, but we must not mistake that as real progress toward the far more important security goal: denuclearization, The Post notes.