South Korean President Calls for End of Korean War

September 23, 2020 Updated: September 23, 2020

South Korean President Moon Jae-in in a Sept. 22 speech called on world leaders to put a formal end to the 70-year-old Korean War.

Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday via video link, Moon argued that bringing a formal end to the 1950-53 conflict would pave the way for the total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

“I hope that the U.N. and the international community provide support so that we can advance into an era of reconciliation and prosperity through the end-of-war declaration,” Moon said in an address to the 75th U.N. General Assembly, held in New York.

The two Koreas remain in a technical state of war under an armistice ending the conflict, signed by the North, the United States, and China. In June, solemn ceremonies marked the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of a war that killed and injured millions, and left large parts of the Korean Peninsula in rubble.

“In particular, this year marks the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War,” Moon said in a prerecorded video message. “Time has come to remove the tragedy lingering on the Korean Peninsula. The war must end, completely and for good.”

“Peace on the Korean Peninsula will guarantee peace in Northeast Asia as a whole and, going one step further, bring positive changes to the world order as well,” Moon said in his keynote address. “I believe it begins with declaring an end to the war, an act that can affirm mutual commitments to peace.”

North Korea in June threatened to abandon a military agreement aimed at reducing tensions, and censured the South over lack of progress in bilateral cooperation and for failing to stop activists from floating anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.

The South Korean president is looking to restore nuclear talks that have achieved little since President Donald Trump refused North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s demands for sanctions relief. Moon previously highlighted the urgency of declaring a formal end to the conflict during an 2018 address at the U.N. General Assembly.

“The end-of-war declaration will, indeed, open the door to complete denuclearization and permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula,” Moon said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.