Era of no war starts on Korean Peninsula

Era of no war starts on Korean Peninsula

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in signed a broad agreement in Pyongyang today that both said would usher in a new era of peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Moon announced at a joint news conference with Kim that North Korea agreed to take further steps towards denuclearization, including permanently dismantling its Dongchang-ri missile engine test site and launch pad and allowing international inspectors to observe the process.

Kim said the two sides have taken active measures to free the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons and threats and turn it into a "land of peace."

According to the text of the Pyongyang agreement, the North also said it was willing to take additional measures such as decommissioning its Yongbyon nuclear facility if the United States made further concessions "in the spirit of the June 12 North Korea-U.S joint. statement" signed by Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump at a summit in Singapore.

That meeting between Trump and Kim ended with promises to work towards establishing "a lasting and stable peace regime" and completely denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, but without a roadmap to get there.

"I hope summit talks between the United States and North Korea will resume soon and I hope they can find a point of agreement," Moon said at the news conference today.

"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," he wrote. 

The two Korean leaders also announced that Kim would visit Seoul in the near future, which would mark the first trip by a North Korean leader to the city, and that the nations would file a bid to jointly host the 2032 Summer Olympics.

Steps towards joint economic cooperation were also part of the deal, with the countries agreeing to begin reconnecting their road and railway links by the end of the year, USA Today reported.

The agreement called for the reopening of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, an inter-Korean joint manufacturing zone that was shuttered in 2016, and for restarting tourism programs to the North’s Mount Kumgang when "conditions are met."

A separate agreement signed by the two countries’ defense ministers outlined measures to reduce military tensions along the heavily-militarized border that divides the peninsula, including the removal of land mines and guard posts from the Joint Security Area inside the truce village of Panmunjon.

The director of the Center for Studies of Eastern Asia and the SCO of the Institute for International Studies of MGIMO, Alexander Lukin, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the main result of the summit of the two Korean leaders was the very continuation of the dialogue between the states at the highest level. "The war on the Korean peninsula is  formal, and the summit will have a positive impact on maintaining peace between Pyongyang and Seoul, as its final statements show the state's mood for peaceful coexistence," he said.

According to the expert, Seoul and Pyongyang can return to the times of President Kim Dae-jung at the turn of the century. "Then there was a zone of joint development, which was closed later due to the deterioration of relations. This policy can be revived - both economic cooperation and political ties. Perhaps even establishment of diplomatic relations is possible, although this is a matter of the distant future. For Russia, by the way, it's good, because we have long offered several projects, which would include both countries - the restoration of the railway to South Korea through the North, the construction of a gas pipeline to South Korea through the North, and so on. If the situation is favorable, then these projects should be returned," Alexander Lukin stressed.

At the same time, the current warming of relations between the two Koreas is not stable. "There are enough people in the world who do not want it. For example, there are people in the U.S. who call for tightening the terms of contacts to prevent Pyongyang from it. There are also people in Washington who scold the Trump administration for excessive softness towards Pyongyang. In South Korea, there is an opposition party as well, the ruling party in the past, which takes a more assertive position towards the DPRK," the director of the Center for Studies of Eastern Asia and the SCO of the Institute for International Studies of MGIMO warned.