65 years after the 1953 armistice that stopped the open fighting of the Korean War, the nations involved still haven’t replaced it with a permanent peace treaty. This means that the Korean War is still technically ongoing, 68 years later. That’s apparently where the US intends for it to stay.
While North and South Korea have discussed deals to end the war, and the US nominally has given its imprimatur to the idea, US officials say that there is little interest in the Trump Administration to actually do this, with some seeing it as undermining their leverage against North Korea on denuclearization.
This would be a complicated matter this time, unlike the decades of previous US resistance to making peace with North Korea. That’s because now, South Korea is also on board for such a deal. In trying to delay such an important milestone, the US may be seen as obstructing diplomacy in general.
A spokesman for the US State Department said as much, that the US has “committed to building a peace mechanism with the goal of replacing the Armistice agreement when North Korea has denuclearized.” It’s not clear the world will want to wait, however.
North Korea’s state media says that ending the war is an important first step because of the history of extreme hostility on the border. The North Korean Foreign Ministry is also criticizing a recent US delegation for not mentioning the idea of peace.
South Korean officials have talked of the idea of reaching a peace deal this year, and China is also open to participating in the process. Though the US is a major belligerent within the Korean War, and would be needed for peace, being the lone holdout would be seriously embarrassing.