North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday vowed to end the Korean War. The two countries have maintained a ceasefire since 1953, when hostilities ceased. The decision was taken at the historic peace summit held in South Korea’s Panmunjom village, reported CNN.
In a joint statement released after the meeting, the nations also agreed to denuclearise the Korean peninsula, and hold high-level military talks next month, reported AP.
Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un signed the “Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula” while standing at the demilitarized zone that has divided the two countries for more than six decades, reported CNN. The statement also mentioned that Moon will travel to North Korea later this year.
On Friday morning, when Kim Jong-un crossed over the heavily armed border between the two countries, he became the first North Korean leader to enter the south since the end of the Korean War in 1953. He stepped over the Military Demarcation Line and shook hands with Moon before walking to the truce village of Panmunjom for the peace summit.
Earlier in the day, Kim Jong-un had pledged a “new history” in relations with his neighbour. He said it was the “starting point” for peace.
North Korea’s official KCNA news agency said that Kim would “open-heartedly discuss... all the issues arising in improving inter-Korean relations and achieving peace, prosperity and reunification of the Korean peninsula”, AFP reported.
“I hope to write a new chapter between us, this is the starting point for us,” The Guardian quoted Kim as saying as the summit began. “Through today’s meeting, I hope we will not go back to square one again and non-implementation of what we agree won’t happen again. I hope we can live up to the exceptions that others have on us.”
Moon Jae-in thanked Kim for “his courage” and acknowledged that the “world has high hopes” from them. “Your visit makes the military demarcation line a symbol of peace, not division,” he said. “Our dialogue and talks today will be very frank. We will finally have the dialogue we haven’t been able to have for the past decade.”
Their meeting comes a day after a Chinese study found that North Korea’s main nuclear test site has partially collapsed, making it unsafe for further use. The findings raise questions over Pyongyang’s motivation behind the announcement that it will cease its nuclear programme for now.
North Korea’s nuclear tests at the Punggye-ri test site brought the region to the brink and soured ties with the United States and Japan last year. The missile fired by North Korea in the September test had flown over Japan before landing in the Pacific Ocean.
Kim is likely to meet United States President Donald Trump in May or June. On Friday, Trump reacted positively to the prospect of the end of the Korean War.