'A new beginning of history' on the Korean Peninsula

Updated:2018-04-28 11:37:15

  In a historic step — literally — Democratic People’s Republic of Korea leader Kim Jong-un walked into the Republic of Korea and met with ROK President Moon Jae-in at Panmunjom truce village. The fact that Kim became the first DPRK leader to set foot on ROK soil since the armistice in the Korean War in 1953 will be etched in history irrespective of the ultimate outcome of the historical meeting between the two leaders.

  The two sides had high expectations from the third inter-Korean summit and the first since 2007. And fittingly, the firm handshake between Kim and Moon, accompanied by the smiles on their faces, indicated “a new beginning of history”, as the DPRK leader called it later.

  By pledging to work for the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”, the two leaders laid to rest any doubts that the summit would fail to yield the desired results. The joint declaration pledged to restore peace on the peninsula by, among other things, pursuing phased arms reduction, ceasing hostile acts, transforming the fortified border into a peace zone, and seeking multilateral talks.

  In fact, the joint declaration said: “The two leaders declare before our people of 80 million and the entire world there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and a new age of peace has begun.”

  Equally important, the two leaders said they would work with China and the United States to “officially end” the Korean War this year and seek an agreement to establish “permanent” peace in its place.

  Washington, in turn, said it is hopeful the Pyongyang-Seoul talks will succeed in restoring peace and prosperity for the two sides, and is preparing for the planned meeting between US President Donald Trump and Kim in a few weeks.

  The consensus on denuclearization, if properly implemented, will not only end the hostilities between the two sides, but also usher in a new era of development on the peninsula.

  It would be in the interest of all parties, therefore, to keep the positive momentum going, so that no untoward incident prevents permanent peace and prosperity from being restored not only on the peninsula but also in the region and beyond.