Accident or incident? English version of Panmunjeom Declaration submitted to UN different from original

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Accident or incident? English version of Panmunjeom Declaration submitted to UN different from original

By Park Si-soo

The English version of the Panmunjeom Declaration circulated to United Nations member countries is causing a controversy because its critical phrase is different from the original text.

The original text released by Cheong Wa Dae shortly after the first summit between South Korean Moon Jae-in and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un on April 27 states that the two Koreas "agreed to actively pursue" the end of the Korean War "during this year" through trilateral meetings involving the two Koreas and the United States, or quadrilateral meetings involving the two Koreas, the U.S. and China.

But the version submitted to the U.N. firmly states that the two Koreas "agreed to declare the end of war this year."

The two Koreas jointly submitted the controversial version of the declaration to the U.N. on Thursday.

Experts here are concerned that the modified phrase -- by intention or not -- could have a negative impact on diplomatic cooperation between South Korean and the U.S., especially when Washington sticks to the principle not to declare an end to the war unless the North takes concrete steps toward denuclearization.

Prof. Lee Sung-yoon of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University told the Voice of America that the modification was "problematic."

The modified phrase is identical to North Korea's English version of the declaration. The North's news agency, the Korean Central News Agency, wrote in its English edition, "The north and the south agreed to declare the end of war this year."?

The South Korean government says it has no problem with the phrase. A foreign ministry official said the controversy was caused by a "misunderstanding" in translation.

"Under the April 27 declaration, the two Koreas agreed to declare the end of the war within this year," The official said. "The English version submitted to the U.N was wholly based on the original text endorsed by the two countries."




By Park Si-soo

The English version of the Panmunjeom Declaration circulated to United Nations member countries is causing a controversy because its critical phrase is different from the original text.

The original text released by Cheong Wa Dae shortly after the first summit between South Korean Moon Jae-in and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un on April 27 states that the two Koreas "agreed to actively pursue" the end of the Korean War "during this year" through trilateral meetings involving the two Koreas and the United States, or quadrilateral meetings involving the two Koreas, the U.S. and China.

But the version submitted to the U.N. firmly states that the two Koreas "agreed to declare the end of war this year."

The two Koreas jointly submitted the controversial version of the declaration to the U.N. on Thursday.

Experts here are concerned that the modified phrase -- by intention or not -- could have a negative impact on diplomatic cooperation between South Korean and the U.S., especially when Washington sticks to the principle not to declare an end to the war unless the North takes concrete steps toward denuclearization.

Prof. Lee Sung-yoon of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University told the Voice of America that the modification was "problematic."

The modified phrase is identical to North Korea's English version of the declaration. The North's news agency, the Korean Central News Agency, wrote in its English edition, "The north and the south agreed to declare the end of war this year."?

The South Korean government says it has no problem with the phrase. A foreign ministry official said the controversy was caused by a "misunderstanding" in translation.

"Under the April 27 declaration, the two Koreas agreed to declare the end of the war within this year," The official said. "The English version submitted to the U.N was wholly based on the original text endorsed by the two countries."




Park Si-soo pss@koreatimes.co.kr
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