Historic meeting in Korea, an end to the war?

For the first time since North and South Korea split into separate countries after the 1950-53 war the leaders of the two countries have met, at the demilitarised zone that separates the two countries.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have said they will formally end the war (which has never been done to date) and will work towards complete de-nuclearisation of both countries.

This is just a step – many meetings have been held over the years (just not between leaders) – but it is a promising step in the right direction. Credit should be given to both leaders for this.

RNZ: North and South Korea announce end of Korean War

The two countries plan to sign a peace treaty, formally ending the Korean War this year, the 65th anniversary of the armistice.

“There will be no more war on the Korean peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun,” the statement says.

The two leaders agreed to work for the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.

Smiling and holding hands, the leaders met at the heavily fortified demilitarised zone between the countries on Friday, pledging to pursue peace after decades of conflict.

Mr Kim became the first North Korean leader since the 1950-53 Korean War to set foot in South Korea, stepping over a concrete curb marking the border at the truce village of Panmunjom to shake hands with his counterpart.

“We are at a starting line today, where a new history of peace, prosperity and inter-Korean relations is being written,” Mr Kim said before the two Korean leaders and top aides began talks.

Mr Kim told Mr Moon he would be willing to visit the presidential Blue House in Seoul, invited Mr Moon to Pyongyang, and said he wanted to meet “more often” in the future, the official said. Just days before the summit, Mr Kim said North Korea would suspend nuclear and long-range missile tests and dismantle its only known nuclear test site.

So a promising move but a lot to happen yet, including a meeting between Kim and Donald Trump planned for next month. Trump may have helped nudge the Korean leaders towards this meeting and pledges, but he is still a loose cannon who could as easily make trouble as make a historic move for the US.

Reuters:  From nuclear weapons to peace: Inside the Korean summit declaration

In the agreement, the two Koreas “confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete decentralization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula” and “agreed to carry out their respective roles and responsibilities in this regard”.

Such language is similar to past declarations, however, and South Korea offered no additional details beyond saying it would closely cooperate with the United States and the international community on the issue.

Past efforts to entice Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program have failed in part due to North Korean demands the United States withdraw its troops from the peninsula and remove its “nuclear umbrella” of support for the South. South Korea has said Kim may be willing to compromise on this traditional sticking point, but no new details were announced at the summit.

Trump and the US will have to play a part in this.

South Korea and a U.S.-led U.N. force are technically still at war with North Korea and the idea of an official peace deal to change that is not something that can be resolved by the Koreas alone. So the declaration calls for meetings with the United States and possibly China, which were both involved in the conflict.

South Korean leaders at the time opposed the idea of a truce that left the peninsula divided, and were not signatories to the armistice, which was officially signed by the commander of North Korea’s army, the American commander of the U.N. Command and the commander of the “Chinese People’s volunteers”, who were not officially claimed by Beijing at the time.

North and South Korea have seriously discussed the idea before. In 1992, the two sides agreed to “endeavor together to transform the present state of armistice into a solid state of peace”.

The last inter-Korean summit in October 2007 concluded with a declaration by the two Koreas to “recognize the need to end the current armistice regime and build a permanent peace regime” and “to work together to advance the matter of having the leaders of the three or four parties directly concerned to convene on the Peninsula and declare an end to the war”.

Again Trump and the US are important to this.

A Reuters analysis shows the five decades of communication between the two Koreas.

North and South Korea are technically still at war, and contact between them was almost nonexistent after they accepted a truce at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Since the early 1960s they have held hundreds of official meetings.

The more frequently the two sides have communicated, the fewer incidents there have been between them. But the number of meetings has yet to recover from a peak of nearly 90 sessions in 1992, the year after the Soviet Union collapsed.

In the past, the volume of communication varied dramatically depending on who was in charge in the South. From the late 1990s to 2007, there was a prolonged period of increased dialogue under policies driven by an approach in the South known as “Sunshine.”

That came to an end in 2008. Now Kim Jong Un is presiding over an accelerated missile programme and has tested a rocket which could reach Alaska. Southern president Moon Jae-in has pledged new efforts to boost dialogue, but sceptical analysts have dubbed his efforts “Moonshine.”

Here’s a look at the history of every discussion, agreement and major incident – from spy submarines to bombs on planes – between the two sides.

Progress will depend on the intent and determination of both leaders, and also of their main allies China and the US.

43 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  April 28, 2018

    Clever work by Jong Un. Might even be up for a Peace Prize.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  April 28, 2018

      Probably not if #metoo has a say.

    • Missy

       /  April 28, 2018

      This is being discussed right now on the radio. Basically they are asking if Trump should be considered for the Nobel peace prize if this all works out and North Korea do disarm their nuclear weapons. They are also asking if Trump should get it, or if Kim Jong Un, President Moon, and Xi Jiaping should get it, or if they should share it.

      • Gezza

         /  April 28, 2018

        Well, I don’t think they can give Trump a Peace Prize I was watching him at the UN literally threatening to destroy Korea. Madman.

        • sorethumb

           /  April 28, 2018

          That’s the point.

          • Gezza

             /  April 28, 2018

            Destroying North Korea? Are you another madman?

        • David

           /  April 28, 2018

          ” I was watching him at the UN literally threatening to destroy Korea. Madman.”

          You imagined this, it never actually happened.

        • Gezza

           /  April 28, 2018

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  April 28, 2018

          Why is a deterrence to an attack mad? It isn’t of course and you are drivelling yet again. Have another napkin.

          • Gezza

             /  April 28, 2018

            How come you accuse me of drivelling and yet you’re the one with all the napkins? o?O

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 28, 2018

              Family likes pizza so we need a stack for sticky fingers.

      • A bit premature to be considering this.

        Trump’s chances may be tainted by the ridiculously premature Nobel award to Obama.

  2. NOEL

     /  April 28, 2018

    Be sad if it all turns to custard at the NK/US summit.
    Stumbling block will be “if you want me to denuclearise what are you going to do”

    “To prevent that, South Korea and the United States are trying to persuade North Korea to agree to a specific timeline for complete denuclearization: as soon as possible and no later than the end of Mr. Trump’s current term, in early 2021, according to South Korean officials and analysts.”

    Yup Peace prize apposed to Peace settlement definately on the table.

  3. Washington Times: Trump ready for hard bargaining with North Korea: ‘We will not be played’

    President Trump said Friday that he’s ready for nuclear talks with North Korea and won’t “be played” by the secretive nation.

    “We will not be played by North Korea. The United States in the past was played like a fiddle.”

    Mr. Trump reiterated that he is cautiously optimistic about reaching an agreement for North Korea to give up nuclear weapons, but that he’s also ready to walk away if he doesn’t like the deal.

    North Korea has already agreed with South Korea to make both countries nuclear free.

    Can Trump give up nuclear weapons in Korea?

  4. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  April 28, 2018

    한반도 평화
    [2018 Inter-Korean Summit] Panmunjeom Declaration full text
    http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20180427000845

  5. artcroft

     /  April 28, 2018

    NK and the Kim family are driven by a vision of themselves fighting for survival and justice against an evil West. This is their raisons d’etre and is used to justify brutal suppression, murder, assassination, fratricide, uncle-icide, mass starvation, slavery and prison camps. If peace breaks out how does the Kim regime survive? Will NK population demand big changes following peace? Does Kim just issue an apology and ask everyone to move along? Will Malaysia look to extradite KJU?
    There’s lots going on here.

  6. Zedd

     /  April 28, 2018

    It has long been said, that if, USA got out of the way & stop the threats, DPRK & ROK (Nth & Sth) could get together & sort this out; look what two Korean leaders have done, together.. now talking ‘denuclearisation’ of their KOREAN peninsula

    All the talk of Mr T being somehow, ‘responsible’ is just rhetorical nonsense. Any talk of him getting the Peace Prize is just CRAZY.. all he did was make idol threats (FIRE & FURY), that may have inadvertently, started the Korean leaders talking to each other ?

    • Zedd

       /  April 28, 2018

      btw; The ‘two Koreas’ recently competed as one team at the Winter Olympics.. is Mr T also claiming that was his doing ? “B-S” sez I 😦

    • david in aus

       /  April 28, 2018

      If the US got out of the way, South Korea would have been Communist in 1950. Perhaps that is what you wanted.

      South Koreans are happy with US-South Korean alliance. The only dissenters of this alliance are Communist countries and their sympathizers.
      You think the US are bully-boys, they are nothing compared to the Chinese governments. Their reaction to South Korea’s THAAD deployment have opened many eyes.

  7. David

     /  April 28, 2018

    Go Trump. He will get a peace deal he is a far better negotiator than the usual useless career politicians who have got nowhere.
    Not sure what the usual Trump haters are going to do then, having said he was about to start ww3 the contortions will be amusing to watch to then give him no credit for a win. Having it both ways I suspect.

    • What he did was high risk, he could have triggered something terrible. There can be a fine line between success and failure in international disputes.

      Whether North Korea has played him or he has called their bluff or whatever doesn’t matter, if the end result is reduced Korean tensions and less nuclear risk then they can all take some credit, whether by design or not.

    • Blazer

       /  April 28, 2018

      little to do with Trump.Just like the former divide between east and west Germans,Nth and Sth Korea are at heart…one people.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  April 28, 2018

        Of course. Nothing to do with Gorbachev and Reagan at all.

        • Blazer

           /  April 28, 2018

          Reagan was a good actor/spokesperson who read his scripts…well.

      • David

         /  April 28, 2018

        I think parking the Navy off their coast and the fear of letting Mattis off the leash focused them. Trump,s used the Chinese which I think made all the difference, clever stuff to pull that off.

        • Gezza

           /  April 28, 2018

          As Jong Un was obviously NEVER going to risk getting nuked by the US, he’s played this whole plan out perfectly so far, given the uncertainties of dealing with Trump. It will be interesting to see what his long term objectives really were when he finally seems to have achieved them.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  April 28, 2018

            ?? His plan has gone perfectly except you don’t know what it was or is. Bizarre.

            • Gezza

               /  April 28, 2018

              Obviously he’s a chess player-type and you don’t see it? You need to re-evaluate the way you look at things. Your evaluative criterion of first presuming Trump is a genius & Kim is not needs to be turned around the other way.. Do that, have another think. Get back to me.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 28, 2018

              I already thought. You are drivelling again. Here is another napkin.

            • Gezza

               /  April 28, 2018

              Slogans & twaddle as usual, eh? 🙄

              What does Kim most want?

              Sleep on it. If you have any sensible, thoughful, insightful comment to make tomorrow – unlike the banal baloney you’ve come out with today – we might talk again.

              I’ll see.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 28, 2018

              Seems you don’t know what a slogan is because I certainly haven’t used one. Ask Kim, I’m sure Dear Leader has plenty.

            • Gezza

               /  April 28, 2018

              See – you don’t know what Kim wants. Like I said – have a think about what he wants. Don’t feel bad. Trump doesn’t know either. We might talk tomorrow when you’ve had a chance to actually think. Meantime just keep using your napkins.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 28, 2018

              Kim wants the sanctions crippling his country to end. That’s not rocket science.

            • Gezza

               /  April 28, 2018

              Correct, but that’s just the bait for the shallow thinkers like Trump. What else? What else does he REALLY want? Hint: more than one thing.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 28, 2018

              He wants to survive as supreme leader and kill off any challengers.

            • Gezza

               /  April 28, 2018

              Deeper. Think deeper & more broadly. Read up a bit. Put yourself inside his head. You might need a couple of days. Get back to me.

  8. sorethumb

     /  April 28, 2018

    watched a documentary on National geographic. Lisa Ling went with an eye doctor and they gave eyesight to a thousand (?) North Koreans.It was emotional as they received their sight after all those years: they were able to see Dear Leaders picture and wage war on the Americans. No one said thanks to the doctors.

  9. artcroft

     /  April 28, 2018

    So much water still has to flow under the bridge before something tangible emerges that its very easy to get way ahead of yourself.

    Personally I wouldn’t be surprised to read headlines in the next six months that read “Tensions on the Korean peninsular have never been so high and missile testing recommences”.

    Kim Jong Un is going to want sanctions removed and if that issue can’t be resolves promptly I can imagine NK going back to it’s bad old ways and quickly. KJU is young, spoilt and may not realise that a smile and wave don’t translate into always getting your own way outside North Korea.