History was made Friday when the leaders of North and South Korea, Kim Jong Un and his counterpart, President Moon Jae-in met face to face. This long-awaited meeting between the leaders from the two Korean capitals is the first since the last summit in 2007 agreed to by Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il and then-President Roh Moo-hyun (with a younger future-President Moon as his chief of staff).
The meeting began with President Moon heading to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates the North and South of the peninsula to meet Kim at the borderline before the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK?North Korea) set foot on South Korea’s soil. Kim’s willingness to cross into the Republic of Korea (ROK/South Korea) is seen as a grand gesture since this is the first time a North Korean leader has been in South Korea since the Korean War (and that was on very different terms).
The two leaders later planted a tree together in the DMZ with soil and water from both Koreas and issued a joint statement to the press. During this statement, it was made clear that Kim crossing into the ROK wasn’t the only historic thing happening, as the two leaders laid out details of agreements to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and to formally end the Korean War, which was only halted through an armistice agreement without resolving major questions now being tackled by the two leaders.
Panmunjeom Declaration For Peace, Prosperity, and Unification of The Korean Peninsula
During this momentous period of historical transformation on the Korean Peninsula, reflecting the enduring aspiration of the Korean people for peace, prosperity and unification, President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea held an Inter-Korean Summit Meeting at the ‘Peace House’ at Panmunjeom on April 27, 2018.
The two leaders solemnly declared before the 80 million Korean people and the whole world that there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun.
One) South and North Korea will reconnect the blood relations of the people and bring forward the future of co-prosperity and unification led by Koreans by facilitating comprehensive and groundbreaking advancement in inter-Korean relations. Improving and cultivating inter-Korean relations is the prevalent desire of the whole nation and the urgent calling of the times that cannot be held back any further.
Improving and developing the North-South relationship is a desire of the whole nation and an imminent demand for an era that can no longer be delayed.
We have confirmed the principle of national self-determination that the fate of the North and the rest of the Korean people is our own decision, and decided to open the transition phase of improvement and development by thoroughly carrying out the already agreed North-South Declarations and all the agreements. [This would include implementing previous agreements with South Korea including a 2007 denuclearization framework and an agreement from 2000, as well as a treaty agreed to by the DPRK and the US in 1992.]
We will hold dialogue and negotiations in various fields, including the North and the remaining high-level talks, as soon as possible, and take active measures to implement the agreed issues at the summit meeting. [This would include the peace treaty, denuclearization as well as more economic cooperation between the two Koreas]
In order to ensure close consultation between the North and the rest of the authorities and to ensure smooth exchange and cooperation between the two parties, it was decided to establish a North-South joint office in the Gaesong area where the two officials reside.
South and North Korea agreed to encourage more active cooperation, exchanges, visits, and contacts at all levels in order to rejuvenate the sense of national reconciliation and unity. Between South and North, the two sides will encourage the atmosphere of amity and cooperation by actively staging various joint events on the dates that hold special meaning for both South and North Korea, such as June 15, in which participants from all levels, including central and local governments, parliaments, political parties, and civil organizations, will be involved. On the international front, the two sides agreed to demonstrate their collective wisdom, talents, and solidarity by jointly participating in international sports events such as the 2018 Asian Games.
South and North Korea agreed to endeavor to swiftly resolve the humanitarian issues that resulted from the division of the nation and to convene the Inter-Korean Red Cross Meeting to discuss and solve various issues including the reunion of separated families. In this vein, South and North Korea agreed to proceed with reunion programs for the separated families on the occasion of the National Liberation Day of August 15 this year. [The reunification of families separated by the division of the Korean Peninsula is one of the most contentious issues debated by the two Koreas. President Moon pledged to bring back the family reunification policies of previous administrations and restore meetings between family members, which haven’t occurred since 2010.]
South and North Korea agreed to actively implement the projects previously agreed in the 2007 October 4 Declaration, in order to promote balanced economic growth and co-prosperity of the nation. As a first step, the two sides agreed to adopt practical steps towards the connection and modernization of the railways and roads on the eastern transportation corridor as well as between Seoul and Sinuiju for their utilization. [This 2007 agreement included an expansion of the Kaesong industrial complex helping bring economic cooperation to a new level. The promise of a railway “between Seoul and Sinuiju” is a major development because this would put a direct highspeed rail line between Seoul and the Chinese border.]
Two) South and North Korea will make joint efforts to alleviate the acute military tension and practically eliminate the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula. Alleviating the military tension and eliminating the danger of war is a highly significant challenge directly linked to the fate of the Korean people and also a vital task in guaranteeing their peaceful and stable lives.
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. In this vein, the two sides agreed to transform the demilitarized zone into a peace zone in a genuine sense by ceasing as of May 1 this year all hostile acts and eliminating their means, including broadcasting through loudspeakers and distribution of leaflets, in the areas along the Military Demarcation Line. [Moon has already delivered on his promise to shut off the propaganda speakers at the DMZ]
South and North Korea agreed to devise a practical scheme to turn the areas around the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea into a maritime peace zone in order to prevent accidental military clashes and guarantee safe fishing activities. [There is a long history of maritime incidents causing tension between Pyongyang and Seoul such as the alleged downing of a ROK ship by the DPRK.]
South and North Korea agreed to take various military measures to ensure active mutual cooperation, exchanges, visits and contacts. The two sides agreed to hold frequent meetings between military authorities, including the Defense Ministers Meeting, in order to immediately discuss and solve military issues that arise between them. In this regard, the two sides agreed to first convene military talks at the rank of general in May.
Three) South and North Korea will actively cooperate to establish a permanent and solid peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. Bringing an end to the current unnatural state of the armistice and establishing a robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula is a historical mission that must not be delayed any further.
South and North Korea reaffirmed the Non-Aggression Agreement that precludes the use of force in any form against each other and agreed to strictly adhere to this Agreement. [This was an agreement made to renounce the use of force from both Koreas in 1991.]
South and North Korea agreed to carry out disarmament in a phased manner, as military tension is alleviated and substantial progress is made in military confidence-building.
During this year that marks the 65th anniversary of the Armistice, South and North Korea agreed to actively pursue trilateral meetings involving the two Koreas and the United States, or quadrilateral meetings involving the two Koreas, the United States and China with a view to declaring an end to the War, turning the armistice into a peace treaty, and establishing a permanent and solid peace regime. [This leaves room open for, and acknowledges the role that will need to be played by the major powers to ensure peace, mainly the US and China]
South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. South and North Korea shared the view that the measures being initiated by North Korea are very meaningful and crucial for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and agreed to carry out their respective roles and responsibilities in this regard. South and North Korea agreed to actively seek the support and cooperation of the international community for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The two leaders agreed, through regular meetings and direct telephone conversations, to hold frequent and candid discussions on issues vital to the nation, to strengthen mutual trust and to jointly endeavor to strengthen the positive momentum towards the continuous advancement of inter-Korean relations as well as peace, prosperity, and unification of the Korean Peninsula.
In this context, President Moon Jae-in agreed to visit Pyongyang this fall.
April 27, 2018
Done in Panmunjeom
President Republic of Korea
Kim Jong Un
State Affairs Commission
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
North and South Korea, not Washington, are the peacemakers
In the face of this historic effort to kickstart a new age in the history of inter-Korean dialogues led by Kim and Moon, the nationalist, war-mongering Western media is coming together to find any way to give credit to the Trump Regime for making this possible. Trump himself – along with the “Never Trump” and “Resistance” members at the neoconservative journals and media outlets like The Atlantic, and CNN looked to credit the US President rather than believe for a second that Kim and Moon were sincere in their past promises to bring peace.
The reality of the situation, however, is much different and Moon and Kim have not only pushed the US away as a leader in Korean dialogue but they have also restricted Washington’s possible list of demands at the expected summit between Kim and Trump in the next month. This is most clearly demonstrated in the language concerning nuclear disarmament “in a phased manner” rather than putting on the 2020 deadline being pushed by both the US and Japan.
This denuclearization agreement by Pyongyang and Seoul puts a damper on much of Trump’s blustering since it is not a commitment for Kim to move at Washington’s desired speed or on Trump’s terms of “complete, verifiable, and irreversible” denuclearization. Instead, the agreement between North and South Korea limits what Trump can do without alienating his own ally – and most important partner in dealing with Kim Jong Un – President Moon.
North and South Korea have made a genius move, and now Kim has even apparently explicitly stated he would surrender his weapons if the US ends the war, leaving Trump with few options. Donald Trump didn’t make this peace possible, the Koreans did, and they’ve just laid out their terms together.