SEOUL, July 31 (Yonhap) -- Declaring a formal end to the Korean War may require China's involvement, a ranking official from Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Tuesday, apparently highlighting the importance of China in efforts to rid North Korea of its nuclear ambitions.

"Naturally, a formal end to a war means a declaration of the end by all parties in hostile relations," the Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters, while speaking on condition of anonymity.

The remarks came in response to an earlier report that China's top communist party official for foreign relations, Yang Jiechi, may have discussed the issue with Seoul's top security adviser Chung Eui-yong during his visit to South Korea earlier in the month.

The Cheong Wa Dae official confirmed Yang's visit to South Korea in mid-July without elaborating on topics of talks between the two. The official also noted South Korean President Moon Jae-in was on an overseas trip to India and Singapore at the time of Yang's visit, ruling out the possibility of a meeting between the two.

Seoul was earlier believed to be seeking to formally end the 1950-53 war with North Korea and the United States, Seoul's largest ally in the war and to date.

A move to do so before the end of the year was pledged by Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un when they met for their first inter-Korean summit April 27. The leaders of the divided Koreas met again May 26.

The North Korean leader reaffirmed his commitment to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula when he met with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12.

South and North Korea technically remain at war as the Korean War ended only with an armistice treaty.

Earlier reports have suggested that Pyongyang may insist on Beijing's participation in talks to formally end the Korean War and to replace the Korean Armistice with a peace treaty.

China is North Korea's largest communist ally, which also fought on the North Korean side in the Korean War, though it still denies any official involvement in the war.

Cheong Wa Dae officials have said discussions on ending the Korean War were under way among all related parties and that South Korea was seeking to conclude such talks as early as possible.

Source: Yonhap News Agency