North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and the South’s President Moon Jae-in agreed on a series of proposals Wednesday as they seek to deepen the ties between the two halves of the divided peninsula.
Following are the key points of the documents signed in Pyongyang after talks over two days.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 18, 2018
The two leaders have met three times in the last six months and their declaration said: “Chairman Kim Jong-Un will visit Seoul in the near future.”
Moon told reporters that barring unforeseen circumstances the trip was expected this year.
It would be the first visit to the South by a North Korean leader since the end of the Korean War, aside from Kim’s attendance at previous summits in the truce village of Panmunjom in the heavily fortified Demilitarised Zone (DMZ).
Between inheriting power from his father in 2012 and this year Kim rarely left his isolated country.
Moon had come to Pyongyang hoping for a gesture that would help rekindle stalled denuclearisation talks between the United States and the North.
In the declaration, the North agreed to permanently close its Tongchang-ri engine test site and missile launch pad — also known as Sohae — under the eyes of foreign inspectors.
“The North expressed a willingness to take further steps including the permanent dismantlement of the Yongbyon nuclear facility if the U.S. takes reciprocal steps,” the joint statement said, referring to the North’s best-known atomic research site.
Analysts dismissed the Sohae promise, saying the facility was outdated and no longer needed, but U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that the pledge was “Very exciting!”
It came 13 years to the day after the North committed at the Six-Party Talks to “abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes and returning, at an early date, to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons.”
It has since carried out six nuclear tests and launched missiles capable of reaching anywhere on the mainland United States.
Kim Jong Un has agreed to allow Nuclear inspections, subject to final negotiations, and to permanently dismantle a test site and launch pad in the presence of international experts. In the meantime there will be no Rocket or Nuclear testing. Hero remains to continue being……..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2018
….returned home to the United States. Also, North and South Korea will file a joint bid to host the 2032 Olympics. Very exciting!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2018
Lower the Temperature
The 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving the two sides still technically at war and divided by the DMZ.
Their defense ministries signed a pact intended to lower temperatures requiring both sides to remove 11 guard posts by the end of the year and halt military drills on the border from November 1.
They also agreed to set up a buffer zone in the flashpoint West Sea, suspend gun firing and maritime drills, and implement a no-fly zone in the border area to prevent accidental clashes.
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 19, 2018
The dovish Moon favors engagement with the North, and the two have pursued several joint projects since April’s landmark summit.
In Pyongyang, the two leaders agreed to hold a groundbreaking ceremony this year for a project to connect cross-border railways and roads and to “normalize” a joint factory zone in the North’s border city of Kaesong.
That could be complicated by multiple sets of international sanctions imposed on Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile activities.
The South’s previous conservative government shut the Kaesong Industrial Complex in 2016 after North Korea carried out a nuclear test and a missile launch.
On Wednesday the two sides also agreed to allow Southern tours to the North’s scenic Mount Kumgang — which ended after a Northern soldier shot dead a tourist who strayed off into a forbidden area — to resume “under the right conditions.”
Some critics have said joint projects serve only to fund Pyongyang’s banned weapons programmes.
This year’s Winter Olympics in the South helped trigger the ongoing rapprochement on the peninsula and the two Koreas agreed to go even further with a bid to jointly host the 2032 Games.
“The South and North agreed to actively participate jointly in international competitions including the 2020 Summer Olympics and to cooperate in bidding for the South-North joint hosting of the 2032 Summer Olympics,” their joint statement said.
Olympics chief Thomas Bach said this month he was open to talks with the two Koreas about marching and competing together at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Pyongyang boycotted the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics.
Hundreds of thousands of families were separated by the 1950-53 Korean War and resulting division of the peninsula. The rare reunions between relatives have been an emotional reminder of the human consequences of the conflict.
Direct civilian exchanges are banned between the two Koreas and the North has frequently used family reunions as a political bargaining chip with the South.
But the two leaders agreed Wednesday to open a facility at Mount Kumgang to host family reunions at any time, and to hold Red Cross talks on allowing exchanges of letters and live video broadcasts between divided relatives.
By popular request, the full English translation text of Wednesday's inter-Korean summit joint statement in Pyongyang. I haven't seen a linked version yet, so for now, you'll have to squint. If anyone has a link, please feel free to share.@mikehfuchs pic.twitter.com/zuTHWHcWQE
— Jonathan Cheng (@JChengWSJ) September 19, 2018