Leaders of the two Koreas have agreed to end the Korean War, 65 years after hostilities ceased, in a wide-ranging joint announcement struck Friday, that includes working towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Un, signed the “Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula,” at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that has divided the two countries for more than six decades.
Following the signing ceremony, the two leaders clasped hands and hugged in a symbolic act of togetherness after a full day of meetings, including a 30-minute private conversation beamed live around world.
In separate speeches they promised a new era for the Korean Peninsula. Addressing the world’s media, Kim said the Koreas “will be reunited as one country.”
The three-page agreement promises to carry out disarmament in a phased manner with the ambition of establishing a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
The Koreas went to war in 1950 when soldiers from the North Korean People’s Army invaded the South. Although the armed conflict ended three years later in 1953, with the signing of an armistice agreement, no formal peace treaty was ever signed, and technically, the Peninsula remains at war.
“The two leaders solemnly declare … that there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and a new era of peace has begun,” the declaration said. The announcement, unthinkable only months ago, said Moon will travel to Pyongyang later this year.
The declaration also included:
- Quadrilateral meetings to be held with the Koreas, the US and China “with a view to declaring and end to the War.”
- All hostile acts will be ceased, and the demilitarization zone will be turned into a “peace zone.”
- A commitment to reunite families separated by the war with family reunion programs to resume on August 15 this year.
- The establishment of a joint liaison office in Kaeseong, a shared economic zone near the border.
- Closer diplomatic relations between the two countries, at all levels of government.
- Joint teams to be sent to international events, starting with the 2018 Asian Games.
Months in the making
The announcement comes after months of careful preparation in advance of the summit.