N.K. response toward Moon’s war-end declaration proposal ‘very significant’: Cheong Wa Dae official

Seoul takes the latest positive response from North Korea on President Moon Jae-in's proposal to declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War as "very significant and weighty," a senior Cheong Wa Dae official said Friday.

Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, stated earlier Friday Moon's proposal to declare a formal end to the war is an "admirable idea" and Pyongyang is willing to discuss improving inter-Korean relations if Seoul ceases to be hostile toward it.

Her statement came just hours after a vice foreign minister of the North dismissed Moon's end-of-war declaration proposal as "something premature," saying such a declaration would end up as nothing more than a scrap of paper as long as U.S. hostile policy remains unchanged.

The two Koreas are still technically at war, as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.

Park Soo-hyun, senior Cheong Wa Dae secretary for public communication, said in a radio interview Seoul reads the response from the North as "very significant and weighty" while also stating authorities were still analyzing the statements from Pyongyang and it was too early to make an official response.

Regarding the tonal discrepancy between the two responses from the North in the same day, Park argued he does not see a disparity between the statements in terms of the message they are carrying.

He insisted the vice foreign minister's statement was aimed particularly at Washington and meant to say Pyongyang was open to dialogue, and Kim Yo-jung's remark "was sending a message on the role of South Korea" in the international diplomacy surrounding the Korean Peninsula.

On the possibility of signing a war-end declaration by the end of Moon's term, Park saw the chances as "sufficiently possible" if the conditions and opportunities are met. "(Talks on signing a declaration) could speed up if the U.S. responds to the North's demand to remove the policy of hostility and dialogues are initiated through the North's acceptance," Park said.

The senior secretary also said he hopes China could play a role in solving the Korean Peninsula problem with a "good-hearted influence" for the success of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Park also noted "all opportunities are open" when asked about the possibility of an inter-Korean summit during next year's Beijing Winter Olympics.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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