South Korean President Moon Jae-in says he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take a "bold step" in their upcoming summit to formally ending the six-decade old war that split the two sides.
President Moon made the declaration Wednesday during a ceremony in Seoul marking the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of the Korean peninsula from Japanese colonial rule.
The two Koreas announced earlier this week that Moon and Kim will meet in Pyongyang sometime next month. The two leaders have already met twice this year, both times in Panmunjom, the truce village in the border zone that separates the autocratic North from the democratic South.
During their first summit in April, Moon and Kim agreed to seek a formal end to 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with a truce rather than a peace treaty, leaving the sides in a technical state of war. Those efforts have been complicated by an impasse between the North and the United States over the pace of North Korea ending its nuclear and missile development programs, which the two sides agreed to during the historic meeting in April between Kim and President Donald Trump in Singapore.
President Moon said ending the "deep-rooted distrust" between the North and the United States would be necessary in carrying out the agreement. But he added that any improvement of inter-Korean ties was not dependent on relations between Pyongyang and Washington.
Moon said that even if "political unification" between the North and South is a long way off, establishing peace, allowing travel between the North and South and forming a joint economic community "will be true liberation for us."