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South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet in the truce village of Panmunjom
Image: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet in the truce village of Panmunjom. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters

South and North Korea Work Toward Denuclearization

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Image: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet in the truce village of Panmunjom. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters

The leaders of both North and South Korea have pledged to denuclearize the entire peninsula.

The goal is to finally put an end to the Korean War, which has been ongoing since June 1950.

Peace on the Korean Peninsula

The leaders of both countries have pledged that they will eliminate all nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula. They have also promised to work to bring an end to the Korean war, which has continued for more than half a century.

The recent meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae In, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un involved a string of firsts. Among the most notable was that Kim was the first leader of North Korea to cross over the border onto South Korean soil. Shortly afterward, in a moment that appeared to be entirely unscripted, Kim invited Moon to walk across the divide between the two countries and stand on the North Korean side. Moon accepted and the men held hands as they crossed and then crossed back over into South Korea once more.

The Meeting in Panmunjom

Both leaders signed a statement while meeting in Panmunjom, a village located near the border between the countries, which contains a joint security area. The statement read: “South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.”

What many people found even more striking occurred when Kim expressed that: “I came here to put an end to the history of confrontation.”

Only a handful of months ago, that statement would have been impossible to believed. As United States officials impatiently pressed for North Korea’s complete and unilateral denuclearization, Moon took a milder stance. This was underscored recently when he cautioned his aides not to maintain “an excessive eagerness to try to fix all problems at once.”

The First Meeting Since 2007

This event represented the first time the two countries had met since 2007. In that year, Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il led North Korea. Kim Jong Il greeted South Korea’s then-President Roh Moo Hyun.

A year ago, the situation between the two countries was described as having “heightened tension.” Kim was ramping up his nuclear weapon and missile testing. He and U.S. President Donald Trump simultaneously threw insults at one another.

That said, the Korean Olympics brought a significant shift to the mood between the two nations. This was further supported by Trump’s agreement to a North Korea-U.S. meeting.

Denuclearization

North Korea has now stated that its nuclear test site will be shut down in May. This report was made by President Moon’s office. The Punggye-ri site was to be publicly closed and experts from other countries such as South Korea and the United States have received an invitation to witness it.

Geologists and seismologists have already said that they believe the site had partially collapsed back in 2017. The tests were being held inside a mountain and it is believed that the interior of the site had partially, if not completely collapsed.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.