Following news that President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have agreed to an in-person meeting sometime before May, South Korean media reported this week that the North Korean dictator may want to induce a peace treaty during their talk.
Kim Jong Un is likely to raise the possibility of a treaty, Bloomberg reported, along with his intentions of establishing diplomatic relations and nuclear disarmament during their upcoming assembly.
South Korea’s Dong-A Ilbo newspaper broke the news over the weekend, citing an unidentified senior official in South Korea’s presidential office. While some sort of peace agreement has been a long-held goal of the North Korean regime, it would likely be drafted with stipulations that might make it difficult for the U.S. to consider.
Koh Yu-hwan, a teacher at Dongguk University in Seoul who focuses on North Korean studies, said the regime has long had intentions for a peace treaty in order to end the 60-year-old ceasefire between the U.S. and North Korea, and help guarantee overall safety.
“There were agreements between the U.S. and North Korea to open up discussion on a peace treaty, but they never materialized,” Koh said, explaining that the conditions to the deal were key. “The U.S. wants a peace treaty at the end of the denuclearization process, while for the North, it’s the precondition for its denuclearization.”
Signing a peace treaty would require addressing issues regarding the U.S. military’s presence in South Korea and its transfer of wartime operational control to South Korea and United Nations forces in South Korea, Koh added.
The North Korean dictator hopes to meet with President Trump “as soon as possible,” and in the meantime has agreed to cease any missile tests while preparations are underway.
President Trump has continually suggested a sit-down talk with Kim Jong Un, and the upcoming meeting would be an historic first: no sitting U.S. President has ever met face-to-face with any North Korea leader.
Details of the proposed meeting, including the location, have not yet been revealed, though South Korea is a likely location.
North Korea’s desire to meet with the President Trump was originally announced last week by South Korean’s national security advisor Chung Eui-yong at a White House press conference.