Dr. Paik Jang-hyun(Visiting Professor at Hanshin University, Steering Committee member at the Catholic Institute of Northeast Asia Peace -CINAP) In his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 22, President Moon Jae-in called for a three-party (South Korea, North Korea, US) or four-party (including China) End of War Declaration. He said, “If the parties to the Korean War gather and conclude an End of War Declaration, then, along with irreversible progress in denuclearization, true peace can begin” and he appealed for the support of international society. Pres. Moon Jae-in calls for an ‘End of War Declaration’ at the UN General AssemblyⒸ Yonhap News President Moon’s plan seems to be to set the stage for an End of War Declaration at the UN General Assembly, then to conclude the negotiations with President Biden at the G20 summit in Rome at the end of October. He seems to have considerably high expectations for the intermediary role to be played by Pope Francis, who is close to President Biden. Also, in conjunction with the End of War Declaration, if plans for the Pope to visit North Korea are pursued, I believe that it would be a groundbreaking opportunity for peace in Korea. The chances for the success of President Moon’s plans are high if you take into account Pope Francis’s high interest in peace on the Korean Peninsula. The responses from each of the parties regarding an End of War Declaration “End of War Declaration,” Ⓒ Yonhap News Through the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea released three statements which showed a positive response. On [Sept.] 24, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Ri Thae Song seemed to indicate that it was premature, but 7 hours later, Vice Department Director of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee Kim Yo-jong’s response had a different nuance. She said that it “was a fascinating possibility and a good idea,” and it would be necessary to drop the hostile policies towards North Korea and the double standard. The next day, she went one step further and released a statement that “a meaningful End of War Declaration can be resolved in the near future. Of course there must also be discussion about several issues such as reestablishment of the Inter-Korean Liaison Office and development of relationships such as through Inter-Korean Summits.” The Chinese government did not make an official comment but it reportedly has a positive perspective. An End of War Declaration would be helpful for the success of the Beijing Winter Olympics next February, which is a priority of the Chinese government. The stance of the US is ambiguous. In his speech at the UN General Assembly, President Joe Biden once again expressed a desire for active diplomacy to achieve complete denuclearization, but the American public is by and large disinterested and reluctant. The concept of an End of War declaration originated from President George [W.] Bush. At the South Korea-US Summit in Nov. 2006, Pres. Bush said that if North Korea gave up its nuclear program, then he could, along with Pres. Roh Moo-hyun, meet Chairman Kim Jong Il and sign an End of War Declaration. The thinking was that North Korea’s demand to conclude a peace treaty was difficult in the short term, but that an End of War Declaration could serve as an intermediate step to alleviate the threats to North Korea’s security. At the time, North Korea’s reaction was cold because the effectiveness of an End of War Declaration was unclear. Deeming North Korea’s response to be unsatisfactory, the US also became passive. The next time that an End of War Declaration came to the fore was in April 2018 at the Panmunjom Declaration. At the 3rd Inter-Korean Summit at Panmunjom, President Moon Jae-in and Chairman Kim Jong Un agreed to make an End of War Declaration by the end of 2018 and to pursue three-party (South Korea, North Korea, US) or four-party (including China) talks in order to convert the armistice into a peace treaty. With the emergence of the End of War Declaration as a pending issue between the US and South Korea, complaints have arisen from within American society. Their reasoning is that the effectiveness is unclear and that it creates a burden only for the United States. As leader of the international order, an End of War Declaration is a promise that goes beyond words, in effect a peace treaty, but it lacks an appropriate response- measures for North Korea to give up its nuclear program. Also, they worry about the likelihood that if an End of War Declaration is made, North Korea won’t stop there but will also demand the withdrawal of US troops from South Korea, etc. Lee Jun-seok, the leader of the People Power Party, recently visited the US, and conveyed the message that “US officials are very worried about an End of War Declaration without denuclearization,” which is the previous stance of US authorities. What is the stance of the Biden Administration? Coupled with measures by North Korea to give up its nuclear program, the US must make an appropriate response, such as a peace treaty, normalization of North Korea-US relations, and the easing of sanctions against North Korea. However, until now the US has not made an appropriate response to the freeze of nuclear activities and the promise to permanently close the nuclear facilities at Yongbyon. The Trump administration’s stance was that without a comprehensive blueprint and roadmap for the North’s denuclearization, there could be no partial compromises. As leader of the international order, the US hasn’t wanted to seem to succumb to salami slicing tactics by North Korea. Thus, the Trump administration finally achieved no progress in the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue. It did not yield to any of North Korea’s requests for the easing of economic sanctions either. They cite the logic that if a small hole forms a whole dam will be destroyed, but they ignore the fact that economic sanctions cannot persist as the central method to achieve the end of the North Korean nuclear program. Economic sanctions are a short-term policy method to achieve specific policy objectives. Used over the long term, they have caused severe humanitarian harm to the lowest levels of North Korean society. Additionally, even though an End of War Declaration is just a political declaration, there has still been no progress. The sophistry persists that an **End of War** Declaration is impossible without the completion of North Korean denuclearization. That is to say, an **End of War** Declaration has been designed as an alternative, intermediary step, since it is difficult to achieve North Korean denuclearization coupled with the promotion of a peace treaty, normalization of North Korea-US relations, etc. An End of War Declaration is a strategic link in the ‘Korean Peninsula Peace Process’ to build a peace regime on the Korean peninsula and resolve the North Korean nuclear problem. It is a win-win card for both Koreas and the US. It is a good opportunity to dispel the scathing criticism of South Koreans that the US has shown no sincerity to resolve the North Korean nuclear problem. It is a card that can even make North Korea a friendly force in the competition with China for hegemony. If the military industrial complex prospers from the neglect of the North Korean nuclear issue and the inducement of tensions on the Korean Peninsula with the excuse of the North Korean threat, it is only a small profit in comparison to the great loss that would be incurred. In the mid-term, it would be short-sighted for the US national interests. How does it help the US to ignore the wishes of the majority of South Koreans to resolve the 70 years of division and to move on towards peace and prosperity? If the US ignores the South Korean people and looses influence on the Korean peninsula, one must wonder whether it will be able to maintain its hegemony in Northeast Asia. The Biden administration must transform it’s posture. A true ally is helpful when times are difficult. With cooperation from the US, a meeting of the leaders of both Koreas, the US and China to decisively end the Korean War is not only the way to establish peace on the Korean peninsula, but also peace in Northeast Asia and peace in the world.