US officials today rejected the latest North Korean call to sign a peace treaty, saying that they are “not going to pay North Korea to come back to the six-party talks.”
North Korea abandoned the talks in early 2009 after the US pressed an additional round of condemnations against them through the UN Security Council. Shortly thereafter, North Korea successfully tested a nuclear weapon.
North Korean officials have repeatedly floated the proposal for a formal peace treaty to end the 60 years of war with the United States over the past month, but US officials have said they will never accept normal relations with North Korea unless they abandon all nuclear technology and make dramatic changes to their human rights treatment.
The Korean War began in June, 1950, and led to the deaths of hunders of thousands of soldiers and millions of civilians. Though the two sides signed a truce that has held for over half a century, they remain in a state of war and the United States continues to have tens of thousands of troops along the border with North Korea.
Despite State Department insistences that a return to the six-party talks come before any discussion of a peace treaty, it is unclear what the talks can possibly hope to accomplish when the participants remain in a state of defacto war, or what harm could possibly be done to them by closing the book formally on one of the bloodiest wars of the later half of the 20th century. The United States clearly has many nations with whom it does not desire “normal” relations, but in most cases they aren’t at war with them.