A Meaningful Step Towards ‘Peace’
A Meaningful Step Towards ‘Peace’
  • Reporter Lee Mi-yeon, Lee Ha-jun
  • 승인 2018.05.30 13:43
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▲President Moon Jae-in (right) and Kim Jong-un (left) / 2018 Inter Korean Summit preparatory committee
▲President Moon Jae-in (right) and Kim Jong-un (left) / 2018 Inter Korean Summit preparatory committee

Over the past few years, North Korea has been striving to complete its nuclear weapons program while aggravating the international community. In 2017, it performed six nuclear tests and fired numerous missiles. The Hawsaong-15, tested on Nov. 29 was deemed capable of hitting any part of the United States, including Washington D.C.. Just a few months ago, the leaders of the United States and North Korea maintained a very strained relationship. However, the current situation is dramatically different. Since the New Year’s speech in 2018, the atmosphere has changed considerably, as North Korea’s Kim has publicly stated that he was willing to meet for the successful hosting of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, and improving inter-Korean relations. North Korea decided to send its leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister Kim Yo-jong to South Korea as a member of its high-level delegation to the 2018 PyeonChang Olympics. She delivered a message from her brother, which would aid in establishing a 2018 discussion with Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea. After that, Moon’s special envoy met Kim in Pyongyang on March 5. The special envoy representative Chung Eui-young, announced the next day that an inter-Korean summit would take place at the Peace House in Panmunjom in late April.

On April 27, President Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held the 2018 Inter-Korean summit at the Peace House in Panmunjom, the symbolic place of the Korea’s division, and confirmed their mutual goal to realize a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through complete denuclearization. The Moon administration had said there are three topics on the agenda for the summit: to complete denuclearization, the permanent establishment of peace, and a drastic improvement in South Korean and North Korean relations. Their agreements were specified in the Panmunjom Declaration. Since the summit was held 11 years after the 2007 inter-Korean summit, it is important to look at the specific details of the high level talks and the significance of the summit.
There are basically three major agreements that are followed by divisional settlements. The first agreement is that, “the North and South Koreas will accomplish the overall and groundbreaking improvement in the North-South relationship, and by this, rejoin the broken kinship between the nations, advancing co-prosperity and independent unity.” To do this, first, the North and South have founded the nations’ independence principle implying that the Koreans will decide their own destiny, and by following the advanced agreements between the two nations, will open the transitional state of affairs, improving and developing the relationship. Second, high-level talks will be followed immediately, regarding issues agreed in the Inter-Korean Summit, and a joint liaison office will be installed in Gaeseong in North Korea. In addition, there will be active, manifold exchanges and cooperation between each country, such as joint national events and joint participation in the 2018 Asian Games. There will also be South-North Korean Red Cross talks held, so that many separated families can meet again, and it will commence this on Aug. 15, Korea’s National Liberation Day. Lastly, to achieve balanced development and co-prosperity, enterprises regarded in the ‘10. 4 Declaration’ will be conducted, starting with connecting the ‘Donghae line’ and ‘Gyeongeui line’.

The second agreement is that, “the North and South will put forth a strong effort to release the sharp military tensions in the Korean peninsula and find a practical solution preventing the risk of war.” To do this, the North and South has agreed to stop any hostile actions that can cause military conflicts and tensions in all fields, including air, sea, and ground. The first step was removing the propaganda loudspeaker aimed at each other, and this was conducted directly after the announcement. The North and South has also settled on making the area of the Northern Limit Line the ‘Peace Zone’, so that accidental military conflicts can be prevented and safe fishing activities can be guaranteed. Lastly, to solve military problems that are continuously being posed, military talks, including the ministers’ talk will be held often.

The last agreement is that, “the North and South will actively cooperate to construct a permanent and stable peaceful regime on the Korean peninsula.” First, the North and South has reconfirmed on the non-aggression agreement that any type of military force will not be used against each other under any circumstances. Second, as the military tension declines and reliability increases, each country will begin a disarmament phase. The following is a very delightful agreement, which implies the end of war in Korea. After 65 years of the Armistice Agreement, the two Koreas have agreed to stop war in 2018, and to have a conference with all related countries. Lastly, both Koreas have found the need for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, and will cooperate to achieve this goal. Both Koreas also agreed to put forth strong efforts to gain support from the international society for denuclearization.

Some say the agreement is unsatisfactory because a definite road map - including a method, subjects and a timeline for denuclearization - was not explicitly laid out. In addition, many agreements were settled to ease the military tensions. “There will be no war on the Korean Peninsula and a new era of peace will begin”, said the two leaders. It is also the first time that the two Koreas’ leaders have discussed the denuclearization issue as the core of a summit, and in which the outcome has been regulated. The Moon administration promoted the slogan “Peace, a new beginning”, and Kim wrote in the guest book “A new history is from now. An era of peace, the starting point of history.” As they said, this summit is expected to be a new turning point for inter-Korean relations.