by Gregory Elich
Sixty years have passed since the end of the Korean War, and in all that time a
peace treaty has yet to be signed. The armistice agreement that brought an end to
hostilities recommended that a political conference be held within three months "to
settle through negotiation the question of the withdrawal of all foreign forces from
Korea, the peaceful settlement of the Korean question, etc." That conference never took
Decades later, the sides still remain technically at war. Activists in South Korea
have made the signing of a peace treaty one of their primary goals, seeing it as the
surest means of reducing the risk of armed conflict. A peace treaty would also
substantially reduce tensions in Northeast Asia and create an environment conducive to
improving inter-Korean relations. By any human evaluation, the time for a peace treaty
is long overdue.
The United States not only has the central role to play in the peace treaty process,
it also presents the greatest challenge to its achievement. Although a peace treaty
would serve the interests of the peoples of Northeast Asia, it has little or no
intrinsic value for U.S. leaders. From their standpoint, a peace treaty has value only
as a carrot to be dangled before North Korea in order to encourage denuclearization.
Indeed, from the standpoint of U.S. geopolitical interests, there are certain advantages
in maintaining a state of tension on the Korean Peninsula, . . .
"Korea unification a
long-term project," bbc.com, July 17, 2000
Lucy Williamson, "Why is South Korea plugging
unification," bbc.com, January 24, 2014
Evans Revere, "Korean Reunification and U.S. Interests: Preparing for One
Korea," bbc.com, January 20, 2015
Eric Margolis, "What Would Korean War II Look Like?,"
ericmargolis.com, April 15, 2017
Khang Vu, "Trump Is Wrecking South Korea's Relationship With
North Korea," nationalinterest.org, June 18, 2020