North and South Korean officials are discussing an end to the military conflict that has existed between the two nations for the last 68 years, Bloomberg News reports.
An unnamed South Korean official told a local newspaper that a direct line between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could be established by the end of the week and that the two leaders may release a joint statement officially ending the conflict at a summit next week.
It was expected that North Korea would call for a peace treaty during next week’s summit.
North Korea and South Korea have technically been at war since June 1950, when North Korean troops invaded South Korea following a series of border clashes. An armistice was signed three years later, but the two countries have been locked in a tense standoff in the decades since.
One Seoul-based university professor told Bloomberg that negotiating an official end to the peace treaty could be as complicated as denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump asking Arab nations to replace US military in Syria after defeat of ISIS: report Columbia presses on with scholarship program for displaced Syrians despite Trump travel ban Dershowitz confronts Hannity: ‘You should have disclosed your relationship with Cohen’ MORE plans to discuss with Kim during their unprecedented meeting planned for next month.
“Ending the state of conflict is the core of the whole thing. Peace is as complicated as denuclearization,” John Delury, an associate professor of Chinese studies at Yonsei University, told Bloomberg. “There also has to be a process of actually delivering the peace.”
Trump shocked many in Washington and around the world last month when he announced that he had accepted a meeting with Kim later this year to discuss an end to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The North has also pledged to cease weapons tests ahead of the talks.
The talks followed an unprecedented level of cooperation between the Pyongyang and Seoul in February, when the South agreed to allow the North to participate in the Olympic Games activities hosted in South Korea.
North Korean officials have also invited Moon to Pyongyang, which would mark the two nations’ first official talks in a decade.