ROK, DPRK sign ‘Panmunjom Declaration,’ vow to end decades old Korean War

World Today

ROK President Moon Jae-in and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un embraceROK President Moon Jae-in and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un embrace after the signing of the “Panmunjom Declaration” on Friday.

The Republic of Korea (ROK) President Moon Jae-in and the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un signed the “Panmunjom Declaration” on Friday and vowed to put an end to the Korean War. Despite a 65 year armistice, the two nations have technically been at war since 1950.

The declaration was signed after a full day of historic meetings between the two leaders in Panmunjom, the first inter-Korean Summit in over a decade.

End to Korean War

The two leaders declared that “there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun.”

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in participate in a tree-planting ceremony (PHOTO: KOREA SUMMIT PRESS POOL/AFP)

The two leaders agreed to push for trilateral talks involving the US, or a four-way dialogue including China with a view to declaring an end to the war and establishing a permanent and solid peace treaty.

The two sides agreed in the declaration to cease all hostile acts on land, air and sea. They also agreed to turn the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) into a “genuine” peace zone.

ROK President Moon Jae-in and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un walk together at the truce village of Panmunjom, April 27, 2018. (PHOTO: Reuters)

In addition, Moon and Kim agreed to turn the waters “around the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea” into a maritime peace zone in order to prevent accidental armed clashes.

The two planned to first convene military talks at the rank of general in May.

The DPRK and ROK “reaffirmed the Non-Aggression Agreement that precludes the use of force in any form against each other.”

Following the signing and a long day of diplomatic talks, the two leaders, their spouses, and dignitaries gathered for a celebratory gathering and concert.

Pyongyang and Seoul have technically been at war since the 1950-1953 Korean War which only ended with an armistice instead of a peace treaty. This year marks the 65th anniversary of the armistice.

Read More: China welcomes joint declaration between DPRK, ROK

Nuclear-free Korean Peninsula

Kim and Moon pledged to work for “complete denuclearization” between the two countries with the two sides confirming their common goal of realizing a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula in the declaration.

Last week, Kim vowed to start dismantling the country’s nuclear arsenal on April 21 and shut down a nuclear test site, saying there is no need for further tests.

The declaration also announced plans for Moon to travel to Pyongyang later this year.

The ROK and the DPRK “agreed to hold dialogue and negotiations in various fields including at high level, and to take active measures for the implementation of the agreement reached at the Summit,” the declaration reads.

DPRK leader Kim Jong Un and ROK President Moon Jae-in walk together on a bridge at the truce village of Panmunjom, April 27, 2018. (PHOTO: Reuters)

Alongside this, the two sides agreed to hold reunions for separated families on Liberation Day on August 15 this year.

Worldwide reactions to the inter-Korean summit

China welcomed the joint declaration, expressing the hope that both sides can implement the consensus of the summit to promote reconciliation and cooperation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a statement issued on Friday.

Trump also welcomed the inter-Korean talks.

“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!” he said on Twitter.

He gave credit to Chinese President Xi Jinping. “Please do not forget the great help that my good friend, President Xi of China, has given to the United States, particularly at the Border of North Korea. Without him it would have been a much longer, tougher, process!” he tweeted.

In his visit to Beijing in March, Kim expressed his willingness to denuclearize and talk with the US. His first overseas trip since taking power in 2011 also reaffirmed China’s central role in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Read more: Kim’s visit highlights China’s central role in denuclearizing Korean Peninsula

The Kremlin hailed the historic summit as very positive news and said Russian President Vladimir Putin had long advocated direct talks between the two countries.

When asked about the prospect of Trump meeting the DPRK leader, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call that Moscow welcomed any steps that would ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also welcomed the summit and said he expected the DPRK to take concrete steps to carry out its promises.