Seoul and Pyongyang have agreed to work together to realise a “complete” denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula following a historic summit between the two countries’ leaders that came after a gap of over a decade.
The agreement was part of a joint declaration issued after South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a summit earlier in the day at the truce border village of Panmunjom, reports Yonhap News Agency.
“South and North Korea affirmed their shared objective of achieving a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through complete denuclearisation,” said the declaration signed by both the leaders.
They shared the view that the recent steps that the North had taken were “very meaningful” and “important” for denuclearisation efforts and agreed to do their respective part in that matter, the declaration said.
The two Koreas had earlier agreed to denuclearise their countries and establish permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula in their two previous summits held in 2000 and 2007.
The talks began at 10.15 a.m., about 45 minutes after Kim crossed the MDL, becoming the first North Korean leader to do so since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
“It is good to see you,” Kim said to Moon, waiting just south of the MDL for their first-ever encounter that was quickly followed by a handshake.
“I cannot stop my excitement as we meet here at such a historical place. Also, it is very moving that you, Mr. President, have come to Panmunjom, the demarcation line, to greet me,” the North Korean leader said.
Kim surprised many by inviting Moon to briefly cross the inter-Korean border to the North Korean side, which South Korean officials said was not pre-arranged.
Moon expressed his gratitude to Kim for agreeing to hold the summit.
“The moment Chairman Kim crossed the Military Demarcation Line, Panmunjom became a symbol of peace, not a symbol of division. I wish to again express my respect to Chairman Kim Jong-un’s decision that made today’s discussions possible,” the President said
The summit came amid thawing ties this year that followed heightening tensions between the Koreas, Yonhap News Agency reported.
Pyongyang staged nearly a dozen missile tests since Moon took office in May 2017, while also conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September.
Friday’s summit marked the third inter-Korean summit and the first to be held in South Korea.
The leaders’ talks ended shortly before noon. Kim returned to his country in a black limousine that crossed the inter-Korean border while surrounded by nearly a dozen North Korean guards.
He will cross the inter-Korean border again later in the day for various events that will include a friendship walk with Moon.