A new era of peace is beginning, according to a declaration signed by the leaders of North and South Korea after their first meeting in over a decade. Both nations are aiming to completely denuclearize the Korean peninsula.
"South and North Korea affirmed their shared objective of achieving a nuclear-free Korean peninsula through complete denuclearization," reads the declaration signed by the leaders of the two countries, as cited by Yonhap.
“There will be no more war on the Korean peninsula, and a new age of peace has opened," the document adds.
The two sides also agreed to hold multi-party talks, involving the US and China, in their push for a full-scale truce. Pyongyang and Seoul are also to have high-level military talks in May.
In an ambitious statement after the signing ceremony, Kim said he hopes that the two Koreas will reunite. The states separated after the WWII and have remained hostile since the Korean War ended with an armistice, rather than a peace treaty, in 1953.
“Terminating the current state of the truce and establishing a firm peace regime is a historic task that [the two Koreas] can no longer delay," the leaders pointed out.
The latest attempt to ease tensions in the region comes after years of UN sanctions against the North for its repeated nuclear tests and missiles launches. Previous attempts to sit with Pyongyang at the negotiations table were made in the format of ‘Six Party Talks,’ but those many rounds gave only a temporary break in exchange for fuel aid. In 2009, the North withdrew from the negotiations and resumed nuclear tests.
The thaw in intra-Korean relations began ahead of the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea. In January, the two countries met for much anticipated talks, the first in two years, and shortly after the nations formed a joint women’s ice-hockey team and marched under a unified banner at the Olympics opening ceremony.
The rare show of unity came after months of mounting tensions in the region, including through third parties such as the US. Washington has threatened Pyongyang with “fire and fury,” sent its military armada to the region, and frequently held war games there – much to the anger of North Korea.