South Korean President Credits Trump For Denuclearization
The leaders of North and South Korea have pledged to jointly eliminate the risk of war and work together to achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. According to Moon Jae-in's foreign minister, the South Korean president is giving much of the credit to President Trump for getting the two sides together for negotiations.
"Clearly, credit goes to President Trump," Kang told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in Seoul. "He's been determined to come to grips with this from day one."
In a joint statement Friday, from the border truce village of Panmunjom, concluded a historic one day bilateral summit aimed at achieving peace between the longtime adversaries for the first time in more than sixty years. This was the first meeting of the Korean leaders in more than a decade.
A statement was released during the signing of a pact between South Korean President Moon Jae-In and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un seeking to establish a "permanent" and "solid" peace on the Peninsula.
This will involve turning their fortified border into a "peace zone," pursuing multilateral talks with other powers such as the United States, working toward arms reduction and ceasing "hostile acts," according to the statement.
The North and South will hold high-level military meetings next month, and Moon has been scheduled to visit Pyongyang in the fall.
"We are at a starting line today, where a new history of peace, prosperity and inter-Korean relations is being written," Kim said, following a historic handshake with Moon on the heavily-fortified demilitarized zone separating the two countries. He called the North and South "brethren who should not live apart" and thanked Moon and other South Korean officials for a successful summit, adding that the countries "will become one" to enjoy prosperity.
The warm declarations have taken the world by surprise, considering relations between the two states have been hostile since the Korean War that began in 1950 and saw well over 1 million people killed.
North and South Korea have technically still been at war since then, as the cessation of fighting was only enabled by an armistice signed in 1953 rather than a peace agreement. The Peninsula has been divided since 1945.
The Northern regime has imprisoned, tortured and killed many of its own citizens for trying to defect to the South for being suspected South Korean agents or sympathizers. South Korean statistics estimate the North has abducted more than 3,800 South Koreans since the armistice signing in 1953, and family members separated by the Peninsula's dividing line are still forbidden from being reunited.
While denuclearization has long been a priority for South Korea and the West and Kim now appears supportive, nothing is yet guaranteed. An agreed upon definition of "denuclearization" has yet to be accepted by all parties, so challenges remain.
Next will be a highly-anticipated summit Between President Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong Un expected to take place in May or June, which more of these details are expected to be negotiated. It will be the first meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader in history.