SEOUL, Oct. 23 (Yonhap) -- A pre-emptive easing of inter-Korean military tension is expected to help speed up North Korea's denuclearization and the formation of a Korean Peninsula peace treaty, an expert said Tuesday.
Kim Dong-yub, a professor of Kyungnam University, made the argument at a unification forum organized by the Institute for Peace Affairs in Seoul.
He said that the implementation of an arms control policy, including pre-emptive moves to prevent military clashes and ease military tensions, will help accelerate the North's denuclearization and the signing of a peace treaty.
"Usually, arms control negotiations are supposed to follow talks on denuclearization and a peace treaty. Depending on the progress, however, inter-Korean military issues can be tackled ahead of discussions on denuclearization and a peace treaty," said Kim, who also serves as director of research at the university's Institute for Far Eastern Studies.
In that sense, said Kim, the biggest outcome of an inter-Korean summit declaration adopted by President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang in September was that the two Koreas agreed to eliminate mutual military threats and the danger of war and establish peace in the life of the Korean people.
Explaining the meaning of the declaration, he said: "The settlement of inter-Korean military problems will simultaneously and positively affect inter-Korean relations, denuclearization and the North-U.S. relations. Improvement of inter-Korean relations should act as a catalyst for improving the North-U.S. ties and speeding up denuclearization and a peace treaty."
In particular, Kim noted that a declaration of an end of the Korean War and a peace treaty should not be linked to the progress of denuclearization, as they would replace the Korean War Armistice Agreement.
"Arms control on the Korean Peninsula should be pursued in close cooperation with the U.S. and neighboring countries," he said, calling for the establishment of a multilateral security cooperative body comprising North Korea.
Meanwhile, Lee Ho-ryong, chief of North Korean Military Studies at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, said at the same forum that an absence of substantial progress in North Korea's denuclearization would restrict the enforcement of September's inter-Korean military agreement.
"Without the complete removal of North Korea's nuclear and biochemical weapons, conventional arms control would not proceed beyond the beginning stage."
Source: Yonhap News Agency