South Korea wants peace summit with DPRK, US, China

Updated: 2007-11-13 14:03

Seoul - South Korea's president called on Tuesday for a meeting with the leaders of the United States, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and China to formally end the war that has split the Korean peninsula for over 50 years.

Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Kim Jong-il (R) and South Korea's President Roh Moo-hyun pose after they exchanged the joint statement in Pyongyang October 4, 2007. [Agencies]

President Roh Moo-hyun said such a summit would help international efforts to scrap the DPRK's nuclear weapons programme and conclude a peace treaty to replace the ageing armistice that ended the 1950-1953 Korean War.

In order to push for the prompt nuclear dismantlement of DPRK and the conclusion of a peace treaty, the leaders of the concerned countries need to make a joint declaration and set up a definite milestone, Roh said in a speech.

Political analysts have said Roh is pressing for a summit to secure a positive legacy for his presidency, but stands little chance of brokering the first meeting between the leaders of the United States and DPRK.

US President George W. Bush and China's ambassador to South Korea have said a peace treaty cannot be reached until DPRK abandons its nuclear weapons programme.

"The North's nuclear programme is essentially related to the armistice regime, so both issues need to be dealt with at the same time," Roh said.

DPRK agreed in a deal with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States to disable by the end of the year its nuclear complex that makes plutonium for weapons in exchange for massive aid.

The ceasefire that ended the 1950-1953 Korean War was signed by the United States, on behalf of UN-forces, China and DPRK.

Roh and DPRK leader Kim Jong-il agreed at a summit in October to bring peace to the Cold War's last frontier by seeking talks with the United States and China.

The peace deal will likely be discussed later this week when prime ministers from the two Koreas hold their first meeting in 15 years.

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