A group of 20 House Democrats on Tuesday introduced a resolution that would call for an end to the Korean War but also keep U.S. troops in that country.
The resolution, introduced a day before President Trump's highly anticipated second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, urges the Trump administration to provide “a clear roadmap for achieving a permanent peace regime and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
“Historic engagement between South and North Korea has created a once-in-a-generation opportunity to formally end this war,” House Armed Services Committee member Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), said in a statement accompanying the resolution.
“President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE must not squander this rare chance for peace. He should work hand in hand with our ally, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, to bring the war to a close and advance toward the denuclearization of the peninsula.”
The resolution was introduced by Khanna and co-led by Reps. Andy Kim (N.J.), Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeHouse passes sweeping defense policy bill Democrats steamroll toward showdown on House floor Panic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda MORE (Calif.), Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDemocrats steamroll toward showdown on House floor Fifth House Republican comes out in support of bipartisan infrastructure bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks MORE (Wash.), Deb HaalandDeb HaalandOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs Haaland calls for attention for slain Indigneous women amid Petito case Haaland calls for 'balance' in federal oil and gas program MORE (N.M.), and Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyDemocrats seek to cool simmering tensions American workers need us to get this pandemic under control around the world Democrats repeal prohibition on funding abortions abroad MORE (Ill.).
The Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice, not a peace treaty, meaning it is still technically ongoing.
Ahead of the meeting there is speculation on whether Trump will agree to a peace declaration, which North Korea badly wants. Such a deal would require signature by the same parties that signed the armistice — the U.S.-led United Nations Command, North Korea and China.
It would also have to be approved by the Senate.
Peace declaration supporters say it would pave the way for better U.S.-North Korea relations, while those that oppose worry it will lead to the pull-out of U.S. forces from South Korea.
The House resolution clarifies that ending the war does not necessitate a withdrawal of US troops from Korea or an acceptance of North Korea as a legitimate nuclear power.
The document also calls on the Trump administration to continue efforts to repatriate servicemembers' remains from the country, and for “reunions of divided Korean and Korean-American families, people-to-people exchanges, and continued humanitarian cooperation.”
In addition, the resolution makes clear that in declaring an end to the war, it would not have any legal effect on the commitments in the 1953 Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and North Korea, “which requires the United States to respond immediately and firmly to the common danger that any armed attack on South Korea would pose to both countries.”
The resolution has already been backed by former President Jimmy Carter, who said in a statement that ending the war “is the only way to ensure true security for both the Korean and American people and will create the conditions to alleviate the suffering of the ordinary North Koreans who are most harmed by ongoing tensions.”
Carter has visited the isolated nation several times, including a trip in 1994 that warded off a potential conflict, and a 2011 trip to try to restart talks to push North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.
Trump is set to meet with Kim on Wednesday evening in Hanoi, followed by a more formal round of negotiations on Thursday that includes respective aides and advisers to the two leaders.
It's unclear what will come out of the meetings, as lawmakers and North Korea analysts have expressed low expectations for the summit.
The administration, ahead of the first meeting between Trump and Kim last June, sought complete denuclearization of North Korea. But little progress has been made since then, with top intelligence officials testifying earlier this month that Kim is unlikely to relinquish his nuclear arsenal.
This story was updated at 6:08 p.m.