In watershed moment, North, South Korean leaders hold summit, agree to end war

UPDATE — 4/29, 8:47 p.m. EDT: South Korea announced Sunday North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has agreed to close a nuclear testing facility in a transparent manner, allowing inspectors and reporters to enter the country next month.

“Although I am inherently resistant toward America, people will see that I am not the kind of person who fires nukes at South Korea, the Pacific or America,” Kim said. “Why would we keep nuclear weapons and live in a difficult condition if we often meet with Americans to build trust and they promise us to end the war and not to invade us?”

South Korea has also offered to initiate diplomatic talks between its northern neighbor and Japan, the latter which seeks a denuclearized Korean peninsula and to address North Korea’s kidnapping of Japanese citizens.

 

In a historic meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom, South Korean President Moon Jae-in hosted North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un for the first face-to-face summit in a decade.

Aimed at ending decades of hostility on the Korean peninsula, the two leaders’ meeting Friday produced a verbal agreement to create a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

Although the two nations signed an armistice ending a three-year war in 1953, a state of conflict has persisted since, occasionally marred by skirmishes, border propaganda broadcasts, and loud, bellicose political rhetoric.

Following the two leaders meeting at the demarcation line separating the nations in the demilitarized zone, Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon and their delegations retreated to the truce village for an eight-hour meeting.

Describing his aspiration the two nations “look to the future” rather than the past, North Korea’s dictator explained:

“I’ve come here with the feeling that we are at the starting line of peace, prosperity and a new era for North-South relations.”

Emerging from the meeting in the late afternoon, the two leaders issued a joint statement which laid out areas in which Kim and Moon had apparently reached agreement.

Mr. Mood characterized the day’s meeting as a “valuable start.”

According to the joint statement, referred to as the Panmunjom Declaration, the leaders agreed to work toward a formal peace treaty, end propaganda broadcasts, ratify an arms reduction agreement, support talks including the U.S. and China and develop cross-border transportation infrastructure.

Similarly, the leaders also agreed to expand cultural activities between the two nations, and to revive the reunions among family separated by the 1950–’53 conflict.

Mr. Moon also announced his intent to travel to Pyongyang later this year for a second meeting with Kim.

Responding with cautious enthusiasm, President Trump addressed the meeting on Twitter ahead of his expected meeting with Kim, tentatively scheduled for June.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres also weighed in via a spokesperson statement which read, in-part:

“Many around the world were moved by the powerful imagery of the two leaders coming together to advance harmony and peace on the Korean Peninsula. . . . He counts on the parties to build on their first meeting and swiftly implement all agreed actions to further inter-Korean trust-building and reconciliation; sincere dialogue; and progress towards sustainable peace and verifiable denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.”

Watch highlights from the historic meeting below.

 

[BBC] [CNN] [Yonhap] [Photo courtesy Reuters via The Telegraph]