South Korea welcomed the prospect on Sunday, saying the union ministry said it expected to begin talks with Pyongyang soon, while calling for a hotline connection between the two.
Kim’s comment came after the North called on the United States and South Korea last week to abandon what they called their hostile policy and double standards if it is to hold formal talks on ending the 1950-53 Korean War.
North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons has complicated the issue of a formal end to the war, which ended with a ceasefire rather than a peace agreement, leaving US-led UN forces technically still at war with the Nordic region.
Constructive discussions allow for solutions to issues such as “the re-establishment of the North Liaison Office and the North-South Summit, not to mention the timely declaration of the significant end to the war,” Kim said.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in had spoken to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday and had reiterated a call for a formal end to the war, but later said time was running out for such progress before his term ends in May.
In Saturday’s remarks, Kim said she noted with interest the intense discussion in the South about the renewed prospect of a formal statement.
“I felt that the atmosphere of the South Korean public wanting to restore inter-Korean relations from a stalemate and achieve peaceful stability as soon as possible is irresistibly strong,” she said. “We also have the same desire.”
On Sunday, in response to the comments, Seoul’s Ministry of Associations said in a statement: “For these discussions, the inter-Korean line of communication must first be restored quickly, as trouble-free and stable communication is important.”
The hotline, maintained by the South Korean military to deal with relations with Pyongyang, has not worked since August, when North Korea stopped answering calls.
But this opportunity and the momentum the leaders created over three meetings turned into nothing.
North Korea has rejected US openings in the dialogue, and the head of the UN nuclear watchdog said this week that its nuclear program is going “full steam ahead”.
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