Peace at last? US Democrats introduce bill demanding ‘roadmap’ to formally end Korean War

US House Democrats have introduced a bill calling for a formal end to the Korean War – which never really ended even when both sides stopped shooting – on the eve of President Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Acknowledging that “the persistence of a state of war represents a constant risk and threat to the national security of the United States and its allies,” the bill calls on Trump to declare an end to the “state of war with North Korea” and recommends “serious, urgent diplomatic engagement” in pursuit of a binding peace agreement between all three countries. It does not, however, call for the withdrawal of the 28,000 American troops stationed in South Korea, or make any recommendations regarding the repeal of sanctions on the North.

The bill “urges the Trump Administration to provide a clear roadmap to achieve a final peace settlement while highlighting the importance of reciprocal actions and confidence-building measures between the parties,” according to a statement from Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who co-sponsored the bill alongside Reps. Deb Haaland (D-NM), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). 

Trump will meet with Kim in Hanoi on Wednesday to negotiate the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, almost nine months after the first round of talks stalled, with the US refusing to repeal sanctions until “verified denuclearization” had occurred, a one-sided exchange that would have left Kim in the unenviable position of deceased US foes like Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi – disarmed and defenseless.

North and South Korea signed their own historic peace agreement in September, pledging to demilitarize the border and begin moving towards cross-border transportation and economic cooperation, along with contact between families separated for decades by the simmering conflict. While the “hot” period of the Korean War only lasted from 1950 to 1953, more than 2.5 million Koreans were killed or wounded during that period, and many of the cities of the North were leveled.