North and South Korea agree to pursue signing a peace treaty

Screenshot/ Reuters TV
  • North and South Korea agreed to pursue signing a peace treaty and work towards “complete” denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
  • The two countries will hold talks with the US and China, and South Korean President Moon Jae-In will visit Pyongyang later this year.
  • The two countries also agreed to begin holding joint holiday celebrations, resume family reunions, and end propaganda broadcasts.
  • The agreement isn’t too surprising, and the success of the summit will come down to what the two Koreas are able to achieve next.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have agreed to seek an end to the armistice agreement and sign a peace treaty, as well as achieve “complete” denuclearization.

The announcement was made at the end of a historic day. Though it was the third Korean summit – the last occurred in 2007 – it marked the first time any leader of North Korea has set foot in South Korea.

Standing in front of South Korea’s Peace House, the two leaders announced their intention for there to be “no more war” and to completely denuclearize the Korean Peninsula in a “phased manner.” They agreed to cease all hostile acts and will hold military talks next month.

Moon Kim conferenceScreenshot/ Reuters TV

“We would like to settle a permanent peaceā€¦ Using one language, one culture, one history, North and South Korea will be joined as one nation,” Kim said, alluding to an eventual reunification of the two countries.

Kim and Moon also announced a number of other actions, including: ending all propaganda broadcasts and leaflet drops along the border, the creation of a joint liaison office for the two countries, and to hold four-way talks with the US and China.

The two countries will also resume family reunions on August 15 and hold joint holiday celebrations moving forwards. The Demilitarized Zone will also be “transformed” into a “peace zone.”

Moon will also travel to Pyongyang during autumn this year.

While an agreement to work towards peace and denuclearization are not necessarily surprising, experts have warned that North Korea has shown on numerous occasions that the country is unable to keep its word.

But Kim tried to head that criticism off earlier in the day, saying he doesn’t want history to repeat itself with summits ending back up at “square one” without results.

Regardless, the over-arching announcements aren’t too dissimilar to those made at the last two summits, which, in the end, achieved little.

Yet Moon and Kim seemed incredibly friendly after signing the Panmunjom Declaration, the two not only shook hands but even hugged.

They will now need to convince the remaining parties of the 1053 armistice agreement – China and the US-led UN Command – to be able to formally end the Korean War and establish peace.

But the US may be displeased with the agreement made today, in particular the focus on “phased” denuclearization and the “gradual” reduction of arms. The Trump administration has maintained their position is North Korea must fully and immediately end its nuclear weapons program.

During Friday the two leaders held a number of talks in South Korea’s Peace House, which was completely renovated for the occasion, and also in the gardens of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

Tonight the two leaders will be joined by their wives for a symbolism-filled dinner.

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