North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met last Friday for the inter-Korean summit in Panmunjom. It has been 11 years since the last such encounter between leaders of the two countries. Following their meeting, they issued the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula, in which they declared that “a new era of peace has begun.” The declaration included a number of agreements that focused on reconciliation between the two Koreas, including increasing inter-Korean dialogue at all levels (including their militaries), family reunions and various confidence-building measures.
Of significant importance was a declaration by the two leaders to pursue a formal conclusion to the Korean War by the end of this year through either trilateral dialogue that includes the two Koreas and the United States or a quadrilateral meeting that includes China. The days following the summit were filled with the images of the two leaders’ firm handshakes and embraces, suggesting that we may be standing at a cusp of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.
This article was originally published in The Japan Times on May 1, 2018. Read the full article here.