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Can the second Trump-Kim summit end the Korean War?

SEOUL: The second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean chief Kim Jong Un has raised hopes for the longest ceasefire in history to be replaced by a peace treaty.

Seoul and Pyongyang stay technically at warfare after the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice.

Stephen Biegun, the US special envoy for North Korea, stated closing week that Trump was "ready to end this war", fuelling speculation that the formal finish of the war is also near, with Trump and Kim assembly in Vietnam this month.

But analysts say a full peace treaty poses many headaches, and will want extensive negotiations.

The 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice quite than a peace treaty, leaving the two neighbours technically nonetheless in a state of war.

The signatories to the armistice integrated the US-led United Nations Command, which fought alongside the South's troops, as well as China and North Korea.

Declaring an finish to the warfare was one of the agreements on the first summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in closing 12 months, however little progress has been made, with the US and the North at loggerheads over Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal.

In his New Year's speech, Kim known as for "multi-party negotiations for replacing the current ceasefire... with a peace mechanism in close contact with the signatories to the armistice agreement".

For Pyongyang, a peace treaty is vital to regime survival as it is going to mean "North Korea and the US are no longer enemies", stated Koo Kab-woo, a professor on the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

South Korea's dovish Moon -- with a slogan of creating a peninsula "free of war" -- could also be a supporter.

But Washington has been wary as the treaty could deliver into question the justification for its military alliance with Seoul and the 28,500 US troops stationed in South Korea.

"The US fears abrupt changes to the regional order will impact its own interests, which won't be good as China flexes its muscles," Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean research at Dongguk University.

A peace treaty could be welcome information for Beijing as it seeks a "reduction of the US role" on the peninsula, Koh added.

The chance could be very low, given the complexity of the issue.

Koo of the University of North Korean Studies says the deal will require "so many world-changing issues", from amending the constitutions of the two Koreas and re-addressing the position of the US troops.

Kim Dong-yub, an analyst on the Seoul-based Institute for Far Eastern Studies, added that negotiations for this kind of treaty may want greater than three years.

The more likely state of affairs is for the concerned parties -- North and South Korea, the US, and China -- to declare a proper finish to the warfare as a political commentary.

"This will pave the way for a peace treaty," stated Go Myong-hyun, an analyst on the Seoul-based Asan Institute of Policy Studies.

The South China Morning Post reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping will likely be in Danang -- a potential venue of the Trump-Kim summit -- for conferences with the American president.

Analysts be offering differing outlooks however all agree on one aspect: an finish to the warfare will certainly trigger debate about the US troops in South Korea.

Chinese forces that fought alongside the North Koreans within the Korean War pulled out of the peninsula in 1956, and with an legit finish to the war, Washington may battle to justify its military presence within the South.

But a peace treaty would additionally position higher pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme -- which the regime has repeatedly claimed was developed to protect against the United States.

"An end-of-war declaration is verbally ending hostile relations," Koh stated. "And a peace treaty will finalise it in a legally binding manner."

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