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South Korean leader says North intends to abolish nuclear weapons, urges the US to officially end the Korean War

South Korean president Moon Jae-in called on the US to officially end the Korean war during an interview on Friday, adding that the North had "promised complete denuclearization".

"If North Korea takes certain measures, the declaration of the end of the war would be a political statement that would announce that long-term hostile relations between Pyongyang and Washington had ended," Moon said to the BBC and added that he statement wanted to happen on the & # 39; earliest possible date & # 39 ;.

GettyImages-1036438406 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in (middle) during a visit to the Samjiyon guesthouse in Samjiyon, North Korea, on September 20. Moon said that North Korea has promised to complete denuclearization and has urged the US to officially put an end to the Korean War. Pyeongyang Press Corps / Pool / Getty

The Korean War, which began in 1950, never ended technically, because a ceasefire was only signed in 1953. The war will only be officially pronounced after a peace treaty has been signed.

The United States has long taken the position that it would not officially end the war or lift sanctions until the North would have made permanent changes to denuclearization.

Moon said Kim Jong Un wanted to rid his country of nuclear weapons for economic development, but also wanted to guarantee that the security of the country was guaranteed.

"By complete denuclearization, he wanted to start stopping additional nuclear and missile trials and then abolish the facilities that produce nuclear weapons and rockets, and all existing nuclear weapons and materials," said Moon, according to a transcript of the interview obtained by Reuters.

The president's remarks came a day after South Korea drew back remarks from Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, who said that the country is considering imposing sanctions after an attack in 2010 involving 46 South Korean sailors killed.

"In the current phase, I think it's a bit early for us to call for the lifting or easing of UN sanctions," Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said on Thursday, adding that South Korea would consider sanctions only if North Korea would admit the attack, according to CBS News.

South Korean conservatives and President Trump were critical of the original idea of ​​lifting sanctions. Trump said that South Korea "will not do that without our approval, they do nothing without our approval."

Moon, however, remained optimistic that if North Korea took genuine steps towards denuclearization, sanctions against the country would be abolished.

"I believe that North Korea needs to take real steps for denuclearization to make such a situation possible, and US sanctions, as you may know, have been stepped up in the midst of ongoing provocations in North Korea," the president said. according to Yonhap News Agency. "I believe that if North Korea continues with sincere denuclearization steps, and when it is assumed that it has reached a point of no return, the U.N. sanctions may possibly be relaxed."

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