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Progress at the summit

Sept 20,2018
President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hammered out a declaration for peace on the Korean Peninsula after their third summit, which was held in Pyongyang. We hope the declaration will help rekindle denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea after a three-month period in which they seemed to have gone cold since the historic summit in Singapore.

Moon made some achievements in the summit with Kim. Their declaration specified their agreement to find ways to denuclearize North Korea and closely cooperate for complete denuclearization of the peninsula. In his own voice, Kim vowed to put an end to decades-old hostilities to pave the way for a peninsula without nuclear threat.

The joint declaration stipulated the North’s decision to permanently shut down a missile engine test site at Dongchang-ri in the presence of international missile experts to dispel global distrust. The declaration also expresses Pyongyang’s willingness to permanently close down the Yongbyon nuclear facilities in return for corresponding actions from Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump showed a positive response via Twitter 90 minutes after the declaration. He praised North Korea for allowing “nuclear inspections” — although that wasn’t in the agreement — and deciding to shut down a major missile test site. Trump also said it is very interesting that South and North Korea proposed jointly hosting the 2032 Olympics.

Moon’s National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong said that both leaders had discussions on other issues, which could include a denuclearization roadmap for North Korea. Given Trump’s keen interest in the joint declaration, Moon is expected to discuss ways to make progress in the stalled negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang when he meets Trump next week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. The Blue House hopes to make a declaration to end the Korean War through Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s fourth trip to Pyongyang and a second U.S.-North summit.

In a side agreement, both Koreas vowed to prevent all types of military clashes.

Kim’s promise of a visit to Seoul in the near future could be a positive sign for North Korea to take a step toward becoming a normal state. Both countries also agreed to have a groundbreaking ceremony to connect railways and roads along the west and east coast. Everything hinges on Kim’s sincerity.

JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 20, Page 30