Korean leaders take historic steps toward denuclearization, accord

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea today. They were trailed by an honor guard in 19th-century uniform.
The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea today. They were trailed by an honor guard in 19th-century uniform. Internet photo

The leaders of North and South Korea vowed Friday to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons and start a "new era of peace," after a summit that saw Kim Jong Un become the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South since the Korean War ended in 1953.

Kim and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said they had "sincere, candid" talks and would do everything in their power to denuclearize the region, although the rival nations ultimately provided few details over how denuclearization would be achieved.

The two Koreas also said they hoped to declare an official conclusion to their decades-long war by the end of this year. North and South Korea are still technically at war, as an armistice was signed that stopped the fighting, but not a peace treaty.

"South and North Korea agreed to completely cease all hostile acts against each other in every domain, including land, air and sea, that are the source of military tension and conflict," a joint statement said.

They said they would work to bring an end to the Korean War by pursuing talks with the United States and possibly China. The U.S. and China were signatories to the original armistice.

The two sides said they would transform the Demilitarized Zone that has separated them since 1953 into a "peace zone" and would end provocative acts such as propaganda loudspeakers along the military demarcation line. They also pledged to improve inter-Korean ties and "reconnect the blood relations of the people" through steps such as economic cooperation and restarting a stalled family reunion program that will allow separated families to meet again. The reunions will start again on August 15.

 

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