Venture Explains: The North Korea Peace Deal

North Korea and South Korea are discussing a peace agreement that might officially end the state of war that has technically lasted since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice not a treaty.

What do both sides want?

Both South Korea and the U.S. have said a peace treaty is possible only if North Korea agrees to give up its nuclear arsenal. North Korea has historically demanded the withdrawal of US troops from the South, there are signs that Kim Jong Un may be flexible on that, Reuters reported, although China has also raised concern about the presence of US troops. In past talks, North Korea had said it could consider giving up its arsenal if the United States removes its troops from South Korea and withdraws its so-called “nuclear umbrella” of deterrence from South Korea and Japan, a stance Washington has found unacceptable. Also, what exactly might replace the armistice has been another point of doubt, and neither South Korean nor US officials have confirmed what a new agreement would look like. However, US President Donald Trump recently announced he will meet with the North Korean leader in Singapore on June 12.

Have we been here before?

Yes. The North’s first leader and founder of the ruling Kim dynasty, Kim Il Sung first raised the idea of a peace deal with US President Jimmy Carter back in the 1970s. While in 1992, the two sides agreed to “endeavor together to transform the present state of armistice into a solid state of peace”. The last inter-Korean summit in October 2007 concluded with a declaration by the two Koreas to “recognize the need to end the current armistice regime and build a permanent peace regime” and “to work together to advance the matter of having the leaders of the three or four parties directly concerned to convene on the Peninsula and declare an end to the war.”