|South Korean President Moon Jae-in (on the screens) addresses the general debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly via video at the U.N. headquarters in New York, on Sept. 22. Xinhua-Yonhap|
By Do Je-hae
President Moon Jae-in underlined the importance of support and cooperation from the international community for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of a permanent peace here during a video speech to the United Nations General Assembly, early Wednesday morning, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
During the speech, Moon reiterated his push for a declaration to end the Korean War, which was one of the items discussed during the first of his three summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, April 27, 2018, in the truce village of Panmunjeom. The 1950-53 war ended in a ceasefire, not a peace treaty.
"This year marks the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. The time has come to end the tragedy lingering on the Korean Peninsula. The war must end, completely and for good," Moon said during the 75th U.N. Assembly, which was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Peace on the Korean Peninsula will guarantee peace in Northeast Asia as a whole, and, going one step further, bring positive changes to the world order as well. I believe it begins with declaring an end to the war, an act that can affirm mutual commitments to peace. I hope that the U.N. and the international community will provide support so that we can advance into an era of reconciliation and prosperity through the end-of-war declaration."
More than two years after the Panmunjeom Declaration, the two Koreas have not made any progress on the declaration due to a deadlock in inter-Korean relations and the U.S.-North Korea denuclearization talks. Also, relevant parties such as the U.S. and China have not shown much interest in a declaration to officially end the war.
But Moon underscored the need for the declaration as a key element to realize complete denuclearization on the peninsula, and international peace in the long run. "The end-of-war declaration will, indeed, open the door to complete denuclearization and a permanent peace regimen on the Korean Peninsula," Moon said.
The President also suggested the establishment of a new cooperative framework in Northeast Asia for disaster response and healthcare as a way to resuscitate inter-Korean exchanges.
"Inter-Korean cooperation on disease prevention and control, and public health will also trigger dialogue and cooperation for the process of building a peaceful Korean Peninsula," Moon said.
"Hoping that the international community views the issues surrounding the Korean Peninsula through the lens of more inclusive international cooperation, I propose today launching a Northeast Asia Cooperation Initiative for Infectious Disease Control and Public Health, in which North Korea participates as a member along with China, Japan, Mongolia and South Korea."
Moon's remarks come amid rising concerns that it is too late for him to make much progress on any of the declarations he signed with the North Korean leader. Pyongyang has even demolished an inter-Korean liaison office in the border city of Gaeseong, one of the main outcomes of the Panmunjeom Declaration. However, Moon has reiterated his unwavering commitment for inter-Korean cooperation, with the belief that it could also facilitate the advancement of U.S.-North Korea relations.
"The Republic of Korea will continue the dialogue. What all of us need to do is to take one more step forward. My belief remains unchanged that we can achieve denuclearization and bring lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula with the international community's continued support and cooperation," Moon said.