A declaration to end the 1950-53 Korean War is a procedure toward a peace treaty.
This is according to President Moon Jae-in as he spoke Thursday to reporters on board Air Force One on his way back to Seoul following his stops in New York and Hawaii.
"Ending the Korean War and normalizing North Korea-U.S. relations is only possible through a peace treaty, but [the end of war declaration] marks the start of related negotiations. It's more of a political declaration to end the war and enter peace talks."
At the UN General Assembly this week, President Moon proposed that parties closely involved in Korean Peninsula affairs - the two Koreas, the U.S., and potentially China declare an end to the war.
However, the South Korean leader said there needs to be a two-track approach as he acknowledged the regime's nuclear capability.
"Now North Korea's nuclear capacity has come this far, denuclearization needs to be achieved, separately from peace negotiations. We will need a two track approach in which the U.S. takes corresponding measures and eases UN Security Council sanctions in line with North Korea's gradual steps toward denuclearization."
He affirmed that such a declaration will not lead to any immediate changes, nor would it impact the Seoul-Washington alliance, such as the stationing of U.S. troops on the peninsula.
"The declaration would have no relation to the withdrawal of U.S. troops in South Korea or our alliance. The stationing of American soldiers is an agreement between the two sides, and even if North Korea and U.S. normalize relations and establish diplomatic ties, the stationing is a decision for the allies only."
President Moon said he believes the North has not closed the door on dialogue, despite the regime's recent provocations, including a series of ballistic missile tests earlier this month.
To that end, he urged the North to return to the negotiating table, highlighting Washington's call to deal with the nuclear issue through dialogue and diplomacy.
"Although North Korea fired a missile last time, it's maintaining a moratorium on nuclear tests and ICBM tests as promised. It appears keen to keep tensions low so the U.S. stops pushing for talks."
President Moon left the door open for the potential development of inter-Korean relations at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing next February, adding that he believes North Korea will decide that dialogue and diplomacy is beneficial at the end of the day.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.