South Korean president proposes turning Korean DMZ into 'international peace zone'

South Korea's President Moon Jae-In on Tuesday proposed that the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North Korea and South Korea be turned into an "international peace zone" after decades of an armed standoff at the border.

During a speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Moon pointed to wildlife that has overtaken the area in the years since hostilities in the Korean War ended, telling delegates from around the world that the zone should be used as a “peace and cooperation district” for North and South Korea.


"Its borders define a tragedy spawned by 70 years of military confrontation, but paradoxically, it has become a pristine ecological treasure trove. It has also become a symbolic space, steeped in history, which embraces both the tragedy of division ... as well as the yearning for peace,” Moon said of the DMZ.

“The DMZ is the common heritage of humankind and its value must be shared with the whole world. Once peace is established between the two Koreas, I will work together with North Korea to inscribe the DMZ as a UNESCO World Heritage Site," he added, referring to the U.N.'s organization which recognizes areas of important cultural heritage.

Amicable relations between North Korea and South Korea have continued in recent months amid the Trump administration's efforts to negotiate the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE and North Korea's Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnNorth Korean hackers targeting pharmaceutical companies working on COVID-19 vaccines: report US analyst: North Korea's Kim, family inoculated with experimental Chinese COVID-19 vaccine North Korea puts further restrictions on seawater entry to fight pandemic: state media MORE have met twice at formal summits and once at the demilitarized zone, though recent meetings have failed to result in substantial progress.

During his speech, Moon called for an end to the armistice that ended hostilities during the Korean War and said that the two nations should reach a formal peace agreement.

“The tragedy of war should never be repeated on the Korean Peninsula. To this end, we must put an end to the longest-running armistice in human history and achieve a complete end to the war," Moon said.