South Korea Seeks Korean War’s End, But US Is a Tough Sell

South Korean leaders see a window open for permanent peace

It bears reminding once in awhile that the Korean War is still a thing. There hasn’t been intense fighting in years, but the war is still on the books as ongoing. Peace deals are discussed sometimes, but as of yet not implemented.

President Moon Jae-in sees another opportunity to approach peace with North Korea, saying that the window is open for permanent peace. North Korea has been generally supportive of an official end of the war.

The reason this war is still not over, and the continued opponent of peace, is the United States, as the Biden administration is just the latest standing ready to warn cooler heads against prevailing, seeing the status quo of open-ended war as a safer choice.

More precisely, the US administrations, time and again, have seen the state of war as a default of relations with America, and even being in a state of peace would be a “reward” that North Korea needs to earn.

While South Korea sees a state of not being at war as a desirable end state, US officials argue that allowing that is more than North Korea deserves, and it would be a sign of weakness to reward them with peace.

President Moon is a major advocate of the peace process, and is willing to butt heads with the US over it. The two sides discuss the matter, but the US almost always sees the status quo as safer. Whether South Korea can convince the US of the merits of peace, or circumvent them, remains to be seen.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.