President Roh Moo Hyun and U.S. President George Bush, at the Sydney talks on the 7th, are said to have agreed on signing a peace treaty to end the Korean War in step with denuclearization.
The US-South Korea Summit Talks in Sydney reconfirmed the significance of the proclamation of the end of the Korean War agreed at the Summit in Hanoi last November.
President Bush said, “It’s up to Kim Jong Il as to whether or not we’re able to sign a peace treaty to end the Korean War. He’s got to get rid of his weapons in a verifiable fashion. And we’re making progress toward that goal.” (According to www.state.gov) Thus, there have been confusions over a peace treaty or an agreement, but due to a lack of a fundamental difference and the realistic and practical convenience, the possibility of a peace agreement is high.
The Korean War which took place from 1950 to 1953 ended from the perspective of a war, but there was only a cease-fire agreement or a armistice agreement and not an agreement for termination, so legally, the war has not ended; subsequently, talks to attain an agreement to end this war have been continuously offered by North Korea and oppositional sides of South Korea in the last 20~30 years.
However, negative mentality regarding a peace agreement, not only in the right-wing but also in the middle-of-the-roaders, was strong because it was seen that immediately two years after the Paris Peace Accords, under the name “The End of the Vietnam War and Recovery for Peace” which concluded in Paris on January 27, 1973, South Vietnam collapsed and the nightmare of Communism could not be forgotten by the entire country and the peace agreement supposedly produced an evil spell which would demand a withdrawal of U.S. forces even more strongly.
The fundamentals of the peninsula security after the conclusion of peace agreement will not change
However, the world has greatly been transformed in the last 20 years. The international Communist states’ movements have completely collapsed and the political support for Communism has been significantly weakened in North or South Korea. North Korea, by backing coercive organizations such as political prison camps or the National Security Agency, completely lost historical and political dominance in North-South Korea relations.
Kim Jong Il knows that extreme economic stagnation can greatly improve through opening, but because North Korean society’s political constitution has been weakened, opening has not properly come about. Further, recently, those who have connected the concluding a peace agreement and the evacuation of U.S. Armed Forces, with the exception of the left-wing, are rarely found and even North Korea does not internally insist that the peace agreement and the evacuation of American Forces are connected.
Realistically, there is no significant meaning in changing the cease-fire agreement to an agreement for the end of the war. Even if the war ends, the burden of security will not decrease and if North Korea does not change its anti-reform policies, then it is difficult to develop North-South Korea’s exchange.
Assistance towards North Korea can temporarily increase, but in the case that there is not a fundamental shift in North Korea’s position, the possibility of a decrease is high. Further, when South Korean soldiers or U.S. soldiers attack North Korean forces, it must become more complex legally, but even under a cease-fire status, attacking without sufficient justification, from an international diplomatic perspective, will incur a huge burden. As for China, a burden regarding the state is the same in a cease-fire or in a termination of war status, so it is difficult to say that there will be a fundamental change.
Also, there is no way that North Korea will adhere to such laws when attacking the U.S. or Korean forces, because it does not have domestic legal or political responsibilities.
Acceleration in the speed of North Korean Regime Change
Average civilians, soldiers, and army staff of North and South Korea, despite this, would receive too much of a psychological impact regarding the peace agreement. One side talks about a significant negative influence on South Korean security mentality and setup, but South Korea is politically very stable and has a strong political reserve, so the negative effect should not be too significant.
However, with North Korea, there are conditions for and a feasibility of a very volatile political situation, so through various form of civilian education, they will try to undermine the significance of a peace agreement, but North Korea has already lost its ability to delicately manage after having considered several possibilities.
The transformation of the peninsula’s security situation will only quicken the speed of change of the North Korean regime.
If a peace agreement was the poisoned apple to South Korea 30 years ago, it is now one to Kim Jong Il. Kim knows this, but he probably cannot help but believe that such an agreement will lessen the possibility of him ending up like Hussein.