Why won't the U.S. sign a peace treaty with North Korea? Is there a reason why it wasn't done sometimes after the cease fire? What was the purpose of not signing a peace treaty with North Korea if the U.S. was no longer interested in invading North Korea?

  • Because the US had been very happy with the present situation... up to the point when North Korea developed long-range nuclear weapons. The tensions in Korea give the US an excuse to station an army on the Korean peninsula, which was something they exploited to threaten the USSR and now China. A peace agreement would mean the US troops would have to leave. The US likes being able to attack anyone from anywhere on the globe at a moment's notice if they want to. Leaving South Korea would impede this. But with nuclear weapons on the picture, looks like their outlook will have to change.
    – klojj
    Sep 23, 2019 at 23:04

2 Answers 2


The major misconception here is that, from the information I've been able to gather, the US was never formally at war with North Korea. It and the United Nations intervened in the Korean War on South Korea's behalf, to prevent the North from wiping it off the map. There is therefore no need for the US to sign a peace treaty with North Korea because a state of war never existed between them.

It is true that North Korea and South Korea have not signed a peace treaty with one another, and thus the Korean War is technically still ongoing, but that's a separate question.

  • 12
    North Korea and South Korea never formally declared war on each other, either (that would imply that they recognise each other's existence, which neither country formally does).
    – Vikki
    Jul 6, 2019 at 22:10
  • 3
    The US has not been "formally at war" since World War 2.
    – Kevin
    Jul 7, 2019 at 23:37

As for why North and South Korea haven't signed a peace treaty with each other, two countries not engaging in active war doesn't mean that they're actually friendly towards each other, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_border_incidents_involving_North_and_South_Korea

The two countries signing a peace treaty would mean that the Armistice would be nullified, and the Demilitarized Zone would cease to exist. Neither Korea wants this, as the DMZ protects both Koreas from being invaded by the other (it especially protects South Korea from being invaded by North Korea, as the North is much less predictable than the South).

  • 1
    This doesn't answer the question of why the US won't sign a peace treaty, right? Or is your argument that the US is involved in the DMZ? If so, please elaborate on that.
    – JJJ
    Jul 6, 2019 at 23:26
  • 8
    Why couldn't a permanent peace treaty simply maintain the zone as a condition of relations?
    – jpmc26
    Jul 7, 2019 at 3:11
  • 1
    The US would love to sign a peace treaty (or whatever you want to call it) with North Korea. However, the US has no reason to do so until it can be assured that North Korea can become a semi-reasonable participating country with the rest of the world and is no longer a threat to South Korea or Japan. That definitely includes giving up all nukes and no longer pursuing them. Past presidents have tried isolating North Korea, Trump is trying to win NK over as converts to capitalism by showing NK what their country can become via exposing them to the prosperity in South Korea and Singapore.
    – Dunk
    Jul 8, 2019 at 23:05

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