North Korea Says Now Is Time to End the War With U.S. and South Korea

North Korea has announced its readiness to once and for all end a decades-long state of war with its southern rival and the U.S.

The official Korean Central News Agency published a commentary Tuesday calling for a formal peace treaty between North Korea and South Korea, claiming "there are growing voices demanding the adoption of declaration on the termination of war" in the South. Communist-backed North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and U.S.-backed South Korea, called the Republic of Korea, fought in the 1950s in the first and most enduring bout of the Cold War, leaving both nations deeply scarred and hardened in their opposing ideologies that have prevented the neighbors from achieving a permanent peace.

Recent and ongoing peace talks have made unprecedented progress between North Korea and South Korea, as well as between North Korea and the U.S., with all sides voicing support for an official treaty that would replace the current armistice on the Korean Peninsula.

"As for the issue of the adoption of the declaration on the termination of war, it is the first process for defusing tension and building solid peace-keeping mechanism on the peninsula and a primary step for building confidence between the DPRK and the U.S. at the same time," the commentary wrote.

President Donald Trump and North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un meet in a one-on-one bilateral session at the start of their summit at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, Singapore, on June 12. The two leaders pledged they would strive for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

While acknowledging mutual calls for lasting peace during North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un's meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the truce village of Panmunjom in April and with President Donald Trump at the Singapore summit last month, the commentary criticized South Korea's right-wing Liberal Korea Party [LKP] "and other conservative forces that stand against" the signing of a comprehensive peace treaty.

LKP Chairman Hong Joon-pyo has disparaged inter-Korea peace talks and argued in a Facebook post on Friday that it was "absolutely impossible" to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula prior to Kim's total abandonment of the nuclear weapons that North Korea has argued were vital to its survival. Kim vowed to denuclearize, but Hong and many others remain skeptical, despite new evidence showing that the secretive state was actually making good on its promise to dismantle a key launch facility.

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"This constitutes the desperate bid to stop the adoption, scuttle the trend for reconciliation between the north and the south and between the DPRK and the U.S. and to create the phase of acute stand-off and war on the peninsula," the North Korean commentary said of conservative South Korean opposition to a peace treaty under the current conditions.

"Riff-raffs like the LKP finding it hard to support itself after being abandoned are saying this or that about such an important issue. This is a confrontational act of pursuing one's own dirty ambition, indifferent to the destiny and prospect of the nation," it later added. "Clear is the stand of the peace-loving forces towards the conservative group who behaves perversely while asserting that 'declaration of the termination of war does not bring peace itself.'"

The commentary concluded: "Peace can come only after the declaration of the termination of war."

South Korean President Moon Jae-in bids fairwell to North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un as he leaves after their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom, North Korea, May 26. The two men held a surprise second summit weeks before Kim was due to meet President Donald Trump for the first time in Singapore. South Korea Blue House/Reuters

Like Trump, Moon has expressed confidence in Kim's commitment to denuclearize, despite a long and tough history of failed talks with all three generations of North Korea's ruling dynasty. Still, the South Korean Defense Ministry has gone as far as to reveal plans Tuesday for a potential "full-scale pullout" from the Demilitarized Zone, the world's most heavily fortified border separating the two countries.

South Korea's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon also expressed optimism toward achieving peace in a timely manner. Cho told lawmakers Tuesday that he believed it was "possible" that the war could be ended within a year, adding that "consultations among South, North Korea and the U.S. are underway," according to South Korea's official Yonhap News Agency.