An unnamed South Korean intelligence official has been quoted as saying next week's summit between Pyongyang and Seoul could result in a peace treaty.
On April 27, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in will meet face to face for the first time, and if reports emerging from the South are accurate, the historic talks may result in a peace treaty.
Cited in major South Korean newspaper Munhwa Ilbo, the insider said official peace on the peninsula had been spoken about.
The Korean war began on June 25, 1950, and lasted three years. It ended in a truce and not a peace treaty, meaning the two countries remain technically at war.
The icy relations spanning 68 years have been thawing since the neighbours marched under a unified Korea flag and competed alongside each other in the women’s ice hockey at this year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Kim then personally welcomed a convoy from the South for high-level talks in March, which led to his agreement to meet with US President Donald Trump — expected to take place in early June.
The red tape in the way of peace
A former CIA operative has told CNBC that even if both sides agree to end the Korean War, it could not be officially ratified without the involvement of the United Nations.
“When I met with North Korean officials last year, they said that South Korea is not ‘qualified’ to participate in peace treaty negotiations because it didn’t sign the armistice and didn’t have wartime operational control of its forces,” Bruce Klingner, senior research fellow of Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation, said.
“Technically, South Korea is not a signatory to the armistice and a peace treaty would require UN action… The previous North Korean position has been for three parties – North Korea, China, and the US – to sign a final peace treaty.”
Trump says there is already dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang
While hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Donald Trump has revealed there have already been high-level talks between the US and North Korea ahead of their unprecedented summit, tentatively pencilled in for June.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 17, 2018
“We have had direct talks at… extremely high levels,” he said.
Trump also said five locations (left undisclosed) were being considered for the Kim meeting, and confirmed it would not take place in the States.
According to CNN, US officials have previously mentioned the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar; the Korean DMZ; neutral European capitals like Stockholm or Geneva; a location at sea like Jeju island or a ship; a Southeast Asian country; and Seoul and Pyongyang as possible meeting points.