S. Korea, U.S. FMs discuss end-of-war declaration, bilateral ties in Rome

SEOUL-- The top diplomats of South Korea and the United States met in Rome on Sunday to discuss ways to resume the stalled nuclear talks with North Korea and bolster cooperation in various areas, Seoul's foreign ministry said.

Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong sat down with his U.S. counterpart, Antony Blinken, for about 30 minutes on the margins of the Group of 20 summit in Rome to share views on regional security and other pending global issues, the ministry said.

Among their agenda items was Seoul's proposal to declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War to build trust and kick-start the stalled denuclearization talks with Pyongyang, it noted.

"The two sides agreed on the need to stably manage the situation on the Korean Peninsula and held serious discussions on ways for an early resumption for the Korean peace process, including the end-of-war declaration," the ministry said in a press release.

Chung and Blinken shared their assessment that the bilateral alliance is evolving into a "comprehensive, global alliance" to move beyond their regional cooperation to address such global issues as supply chains and responses to COVID-19, the ministry said.

In a separate press release, Ned Price, spokesperson of the U.S. State Department, said Chung and Blinken underscored their shared commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Price added that the two sides also reaffirmed the "ironclad" South Korea-U.S. alliance, which is the "linchpin of peace, security and prosperity in Northeast Asia, the Indo-Pacific, and beyond."

The two diplomats met in person in less than a month since they had a pull-aside meeting on the margins of a gathering of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. Chung also held a meeting with Blinken last month during his visit to New York to accompany Moon's attendance of the U.N. General Assembly.

Their talks came amid a flurry of meetings between Seoul and Washington officials over the past month to explore ways to break the nuclear impasse with Pyongyang by formally ending the Korean War and providing humanitarian aid to the North.

Source: Yonhap News Agency