Despite Pyongyang's public silence about his attempts for a declaration of peace between the two sides, South Korean President Moon Jae-in pledged on Monday to use his final months in office to fight for a diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea.

"Until the end," Moon said in his final New Year's address before his five-year term ends in May, "the government will pursue normalisation of inter-Korean relations and an irreversible path to peace. I hope that discussion attempts will continue in the next administration as well."

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made no mention of Moon's calls for a declaration officially ending the 1950-1953 Korean War or stalled denuclearisation talks with the US in his own New Year's Eve address.

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During a flurry of negotiations in 2018 and 2019, Moon held multiple summits with Kim, including one in Pyongyang, before talks stalled over disagreements about international demands that the North surrender its nuclear arsenal, and Pyongyang's demand that Washington and Seoul ease sanctions and drop other "hostile policies."

Moon is pressing for an "end of war declaration" to kickstart the delayed negotiations, and his administration has hinted at backchannel talks. North Korea, however, has not replied publicly to the recent push, and the US has stated that it supports the idea but may disagree with the South on the timing.

"There is still a long way to go," Moon acknowledged, but added that if inter-Korean relations improve, so will international relations.

Moon claimed that a substantial military buildup in South Korea had made his outreach to North Korea possible. "On strong security, peace is possible," he said.