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December 19, 2018

S. Korea seeks 'early' agreement on ending Korean War

S. Korea seeks 'early' agreement on ending Korean War
'The 1950-53 Korean War ceased with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving the North and South technically at war' - By: The Blue House/AFP/File handout

Seoul is in three-way talks with Pyongyang and Washington for an early agreement on formally ending the decades-old Korean War, it said Thursday ahead of a summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump in Singapore next week.

The 1950-53 conflict ceased with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving the two sides technically at war, and US President Donald Trump said last week that it would be one of the issues on the table at the historic summit.

"We talked about ending the war," Trump said following a meeting with a senior North Korean envoy. "Historically it's very important, but we'll see."

South Korea's foreign ministry said Thursday it was holding three-way discussions on the issue, without providing further details.

"The government will continue close three-way discussions among the South, the North and the US to declare an end to the war as early as possible," ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk told reporters.

Seoul will operate a press centre for South Korean and foreign media next week in Singapore, Noh said, further raising speculation that South Korean President Moon Jae-in may fly to the city-state in time for the summit.

But a senior official at the South's presidential office told Yonhap news agency that the chances of a trilateral summit between the two Koreas and the US in Singapore next week looked slim, after Trump signalled that the meeting could be the first of several.

"We initially said we needed an end of war declaration assuming the June 12 US-North Korea summit was a 'one shot summit' but given the current situation, there is no reason to rush into it."

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