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?

  • 2
    Treaties take two sides. Do the North Koreans want to sign a peace treaty with any of combatants (UN or S Korea)? The common factor is the lack of any such treaties is N Korea.
    – matt_black
    Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 16:24

2 Answers 2


The significant misconception is that, from the information I've gathered, 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.

Indeed, 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.

  • 15
    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
    Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 22:10
  • 5
    The US has not been "formally at war" since World War 2.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 23:37
  • @Kevin The US has been formally in war since then. What you mean is that they have not declared a war since WW2, which is a specific kind of legal action.
    – Morisco
    Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 9:30
  • @Vikki Do the parties need to declare internal civil war?
    – r13
    Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 12:01
  • @r13 Good question. You could ask it separately. I guess not. You don't need to declare war ever in order to conduct it. There is not much need in declaring war. War is something that most people immediately recognize when they see it. Declaring it is kind of an anachronism. Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 5:21

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
    Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 23:26
  • 9
    Why couldn't a permanent peace treaty simply maintain the zone as a condition of relations?
    – jpmc26
    Commented 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
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 23:05

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