‘A Korean era of peace has begun’

SEOUL: North and South Korea have hailed “a new era of peace” after their leaders agreed to pursue a set of historic goals, including a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and an official end to the Korean War. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed willingness on Friday to scrap his country’s nuclear programme, according to a joint statement issued after talks with South Korean President Moon Jae In.
“There is no reason why we should fight each other — we are one nation,” Kim said in a speech during a day heavy with symbolism in the border village of Panmunjom.
“As I stand here today I can see that South and North Korea are the same people, the same blood — they cannot be separated,” Kim said.
North and South Korea also agreed to pursue meetings involving the United States and China “with a view to declaring an end to the War and establishing a permanent and solid peace regime,” according to the joint statement, dubbed the Panmunjom Declaration.
The Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice, rather than a peace treaty.
The meetings could take the form of trilateral talks involving North and South Korea and the United States, or quadrilateral meetings involving the Koreas, the US and China.
“Korean war to end!” US President Donald Trump declared on Twitter, following the summit. “The United States, and all of its great people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!”
The summit was expected to set the tone for a highly anticipated meeting between Kim and Trump which could take place in late May or early June.
While China praised the courage of Kim and Moon, Japan was more reserved on the outcome of the summit.
“I strongly hope North Korea will take concrete actions” in resolving the issue of its nuclear and missile programmes and that of Japanese nationals abducted by Pyongyang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said. — dpa
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