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North & South Korea are to cease hostilities with a view to ending the Korean War and to de-nuclearise the Korean Peninsula.  The two Koreas will also look to increase cooperation and establish new era of peace.  This comes as the Korean leaders, Kim Jong-un and President Moon Jae-in met at the historic summit at Panmunjeom.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said “North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and I declared that there will not be war on the Korean Peninsula and that a new era of peace is beginning.” adding that he and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un agreed that “realising a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula is our shared goal….” Moon praised Kim’s earlier decisions to halt missile and nuclear tests, and to shut down the Punggye-ri nuclear weapons test site as announced on 21st April.

Moon went on to say that he and Kim agreed to cooperate in establishing “permanent peace,” which will “fundamentally change the international order surrounding the Korean Peninsula. We agreed to take the lead in deciding the fate of our people, but cooperate to win the support and cooperation of the international community,” he added.

Kim Jong-un said “Above all, we share a firm will to open a new era in which the entire race lives in a peaceful land without war, and agreed on practical measures.” He also confirmed that putting past agreements into action will be the first step. North & South Korea have reached a number of agreements in the past, but that of 4th Oct 2007, signed by late President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, had focussed mainly on economic cooperation.

The recent declaration, however, did not focuss on the nucler issue either, something that Cheong Wa Dae had repeatedly stressed as being the main aim of the summit. That said,  a high-level South Korean official has stated that thi is a major aim for Kim. “The will to realise a Korean Peninsula without nuclear (weapons) was confirmed,” the official said on condition of anonymity, adding that the expression “complete denuclearisation” should be highlighted. The official declined to comment on South Korea’s role in denuclearisation, and whether the this would  include the US’ nuclear umbrella.

US President Donald Trump reacted within the hour  on twitter: “After a furious year of missile launches and Nuclear testing, a historic meeting between North and South Korea is now taking place. Good things are happening, but only time will tell!”  The US leader, who had given “his blessing” for the Korea’s to discuss a peace treaty, also praised the talk of peace, saying, “The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, meanwhile, appeared more cautious, saying that he will continue to watch North Korea and urging the country to take concrete action. “I welcome and take them as positive moves,” Abe said in press conference held after the inter-Korean summit. “Japan will compare the latest declaration to the previous ones and respond according to the analysis,” Abe said, adding that Tokyo will continue working closely with Seoul and Washington on the issue.

Friday’s historic Korean summit events began at 0929hrs with Kim crossing the Military Demarcation Line, guided by Moon. Kim, the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South, was escorted by a traditional ceremonial guard and inspected a South Korean military honour guard. In an unscheduled event, the two sides took a group photograph before heading to the Peace House for a pre-summit conversation, and later the summit meeting.

Along with Moon, his chief of staff Im Jong-seok and National Intelligence Service Director Suh Hoon attended the meeting in the morning that lasted from 1015hrs to 1155hrs Kim was flanked by his sister Kim Yo-jong, and Kim Yong-chol. Events in the afternoon began with Moon and Kim planting a tree, and taking a stroll around the grounds, ending with the two having a private discussion lasting some 30 minutes. Kim was joined by his wife Ri Sol-ju later in the day for a welcome dinner hosted by Moon and first lady Kim Jung-sook.

The talks are a prelude to future discussions. Both leaders have agreed to meet in Pyongyang, in the North, in the autumn and to hold a reunion of families separated by the Korean War on 15th August. They also said they would seek to hold four-way negotiations with the United States and China.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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