North Korea Lays out Prerequisites for Ending Korean War; Launches Rockets Into the Sea

On Tuesday, 21 September, South Korean (ROK) president Moon Jae-In spoke before the United Nations and called for an official end to the Korean war.

“Today, I once again urge the community of nations to mobilize its strengths for the end-of-war declaration on the Korean Peninsula and propose that three parties of the two Koreas and the US, or 4 parties of the two Koreas, the US and China come together and declare that the War on the Korean Peninsula is over.”

Moon’s term in office is set to end in 2022 and despite his earnest efforts peace on the peninsula seems to remain but a dream. Despite President Trump’s high-profile meetings with the North Koreans (DPRK), progress has seemingly stalled with the 2020 decision by the DPRK to blow up the joint liaison office linking the two Koreas serving as an apt symbol. The latest South Korean initiative was also rebuffed with North Korean leadership claiming the preconditions for peace have not been met.

North Korea blows up joint liaison office

Statements made on Friday (24 September) and Saturday by Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong expressed interest in restoring peace and stability to the peninsula but only after a number of demands were met by the South Koreans, including “the re-establishment of the north-south joint liaison office and the north-south summit.” Chief among these is the cessation of “hostile” military activities.

“The US and South Korean-style double standards towards the DPRK by which the DPRK’s actions of self-defensive dimension to cope with the military circumstances and possible military threats existing on the Korean Peninsula are dismissed as threatening ‘provocations’ and their arms buildup are described as the ‘securing of a deterrent to North Korea’ are illogical and childish, and are a blunt disregards of and challenge to the sovereignty of the DPRK.”

The North Koreans proceeded to fire off a missile into the ocean to the East in the early hours of Monday, 27 September. The US State Department criticized the launch but, in an address, made around an hour after launch, North Korean envoy Song Kim reminded the UN that North Korea has the “righteous right to self-defense”.