Can treaty ensure peace on Korean Peninsula?

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/6/4 23:38:39

South Korean media said Monday that President Moon Jae-in might join the June 12 summit in Singapore and jointly sign a declaration to end the Korean War with US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The South Korea government seems to be the one releasing the message, but there is no official statement about it.

It has been a while since the prediction - the US and North Korea would sign such a document - was circulated. What's unknown is whether it can be signed at Trump and Kim's first meeting and who else will also sign it.

The Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in 1953 by North Korea and China on one side and the United Nations Command on the other, led by the US.

Without a peace treaty, theoretically the Korean Peninsula has remained in a state of war for over 60 years.

Pyongyang is hoping to replace the armistice with a peace treaty, as advocated in the Panmunjom Declaration. There is a positive mood surrounding Washington and Pyongyang negotiating on the subject.

As China is one of the signatories of the armistice, its participation in formulating and signing a declaration to end the war is essential to ensure its legal and historical status.

When it comes to issues on the Korean Peninsula, apart from denuclearization and a permanent peace, geopolitical considerations have also emerged from time to time and created uncertainties in the peace process in recent times.

For China, denuclearization and a permanent peace on the peninsula are more important than anything else. Encouraging the signing of a peace treaty should thus be China's major policy.

The issue of the peninsula is quite complicated. Now the US has also begun using the term "process," indicating that the Trump administration realizes it is hard to resolve the crisis overnight.

If Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang sign a declaration to end the war, that would be a good thing. As long as it can restrain the three parties' hostile moves, it's better than nothing. But such a declaration cannot be legally linked to the Korean Armistice Agreement. Therefore, it has some degree of uncertainty. If China also signed it, the stability of the peace agreement would be more secure.

There are some analyses in the South Korean media that suggest the peace treaty will be signed by the US, South and North Korea, leaving China marginalized. That may not be the case. China has a strong influence on Korean Peninsula affairs. Even when Beijing does not speak a word, it has larger weight on the situation than Seoul, which is busy traveling around.

The Pyongyang-Washington summit will soon start and all parties should be committed to promoting the summit toward success. Selfish calculations are not needed now.

Permanent peace on the peninsula comes above everything. China will certainly play a constructive role. China is not interested in taking credit. We simply seek to solidify the peace process.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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