May 08, 2018
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North and South Korea Vow to End War and Pursue a Nuclear-Free Peninsula

"Deeply touching to watch Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae shake hands, cross together on both sides of the DMZ, and make peace and history."

by Jake Johnson

In a historic meeting on Friday that sparked hope of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula after decades of hostilities, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in embraced at the border village of Panmunjom and agreed to work toward bringing an official end to the Korean War and fully denuclearizing the peninsula.

"The two leaders agreed, through regular meetings and direct telephone conversations, to hold frequent and candid discussions on issues vital to the nation, to strengthen mutual trust, and to jointly endeavour to strengthen the positive momentum towards continuous advancement of inter-Korean relations," reads the "Panmunjom Declaration," a document signed by both leaders on Friday. "South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realising, through complete denuclearisation, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula."

As the monumental summit between the two nations progressed, videos of Kim and Moon embracing circulated on social media and were hailed by experts as truly heartening displays of diplomacy after months of heightened nuclear tensions—fueled in large part by the belligerent rhetoric of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Watch Moon and Kim shake hands and exchange greetings at the concrete border separating their nations:

After Kim steps over into South Korean territory for the first time, he asks Moon to walk over to the Northern side:

Finally, after signing the "Panmunjom Declaration," Kim and Moon shook hands once more and hugged it out:

Responding to the summit on Twitter, Christine Ahn, founder of the peace group Women Cross DMZ, wrote it is "deeply touching to watch Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae shake hands, cross together on both sides of the [demilitarized zone], and make peace and history!"

Other Korea experts echoed Ahn's celebration of the historic meeting—which makes Kim the first North Korean leader to visit the South—arguing it is a crucial and genuine step toward peace that must be built upon, especially with "warmongers" occupying the highest levels of the American foreign policy establishment under Trump.

Kim and Moon's summit on Friday come ahead of a possible meeting between the North Korean leader and Trump, who now has two men who have both supportedregime change in North Korea whispering in his ear—national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

A date for the Trump-Kim meeting has not yet been determined.

In a tweet on Friday, Trump—who has attempted to take credit for Kim's moves toward diplomacy, even though experts argue the recent peace talks are due to the persistent efforts of the South Korean president—vaguely wrote, "Good things are happening, but only time will tell!"

Trump went on to add that "the United States, and all of its great people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea," but made no mention of the Korean people.

Originally appeared on | Image Credit: Shutterstock

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