South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have announced a sweeping set of agreements after their second day of talks in Pyongyang that included a promise by Kim to permanently dismantle the North’s main nuclear complex if the United States takes corresponding measures.
They also agreed to the acceptance of international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and a vow to work together to host the summer Olympics in 2032.
Declaring they had made a major step toward peace on the Korean Peninsula, the two leaders were side by side as they announced the joint statement to a group of North and South Korean reporters after a closed-door meeting on Wednesday.
“We have agreed to make the Korean Peninsula a land of peace that is free from nuclear weapons and nuclear threat,” Kim said as he stood by Moon’s side at the guesthouse where Moon is staying.
“The road to our future will not always be smooth and we may face challenges and trials we can’t anticipate. But we aren’t afraid of headwinds because our strength will grow as we overcome each trial based on the strength of our nation.”
Kim and Moon earlier smiled as they walked into a meeting room to finalise the joint statement, which also said that the leaders would push for a Korean Peninsula without nuclear weapons and to “eliminate all the danger of war.”
They agreed that Kim would visit the South in the near future.
The statement caps off the third summit between Kim and Moon, who is under increasing pressure from Washington to find a path forward in its efforts to get Kim to completely – and unilaterally – abandon his nuclear arsenal.
But while containing several tantalising offers, it appears to fall short of the major steps many in Washington had been looking for – such as a commitment by Pyongyang to provide a list of the North’s nuclear facilities, a solid step-by-step timeline or an agreement to allow international inspectors in to assess progress or discover violations.
The question is whether it will be enough for President Donald Trump to pick up where Moon has left off.
Trump has maintained that he and Kim have a solid relationship, and both leaders have expressed interest in a follow-up summit to their meeting in June in Singapore. North Korea has been demanding a declaration formally ending the Korean War, which was stopped in 1953 by a cease-fire, but neither leader mentioned it as they read the joint statement.