North calls South's proposal to declare end of Korean War good idea

Seoul, Sept. 21, (dpa/GNA) - North Korea has called a South Korean proposal to declare a formal end to the Korean War "an interesting and an admirable idea" and signalled a willingness to resume talks given some preconditions.

"The declaration of the termination of the war is an interesting and an admirable idea in that it itself is meant to put a physical end to the unstable state of ceasefire that has remained on the Korean peninsula for a long time," Kim Yo Jong, vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, said in a statement released on Friday.

But Kim, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, charged that South Korean "double-dealing standards, prejudice and hostile policies" as well as "antagonizing acts" persist.

She said that "double-dealing attitudes, illogical prejudice, bad habits" and a hostile South Korean stance must be dropped by Seoul before there could be any talks.

Kim also warned against a premature agreement on an end-of-war declaration, saying it was necessary to consider "whether it is [the] right time now and whether there are conditions ripe for discussing this issue."

Her remarks were carried by state news agency KCNA on Friday.

South Korean President Moon Jae In suggested at the UN General Assembly in New York earlier this week that dialogue both between his country and North Korea and between the US and North Korea must resume as soon as possible.

He also proposed that both Korean states meet with the US and possibly China to officially declare the end of the Korean War.

Earlier Friday, South Korea's Yonhap news agency cited a statement by North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Ri Thae Song saying that an end-of-war declaration had "no legal binding force" and would "become a mere scrap of paper in a moment upon changes in situations."

"There is no vouch that the mere declaration of the termination of the war would lead to the withdrawal of the hostile policy toward the DPRK [North Korea], under the present situation on the peninsula inching close to a touch-and-go situation," the minister asserted.

Despite a 1953 armistice, the Korean War has never officially ended.

A thaw in relations between North and South Korea took place in 2018 and there were direct talks between the two Koreas, but progress then suddenly stalled.

South and North Korea reopened their official communication links in July after a long radio silence. However, North Korea stopped answering calls from South Korea in protest at joint military exercises between South Korea and the US in August.

North Korea is subject to harsh international sanctions because of its nuclear weapons programme. Negotiations between the United States and North Korea over its nuclear programme have not made any progress for more than two and a half years.

Two high-profile summits between Kim Jong Un and then-US president Donald Trump also failed to translate into any substantial progress.

The United States under President Joe Biden has said it is ready to meet North Korean officials "anywhere, anytime."

But there has been renewed tension and radio silence between the two Koreas recently following North Korean missile tests.