North and South Korea on Friday agreed to sign a peace treaty formally later in 2018, ending the 65-year old war between the two countries.
The Korean War between the two countries took place between 1950-53 which ended with a ceasefire and signing of an armistice agreement. Technically, both the countries are still at war since no peace treaty has been signed between them.
In a joint declaration of the third inter-Korean summit at the Peace House in demilitarised zone, the document formally called the ‘Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula,’ read, “The two leaders solemnly declare … that there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and a new era of peace has begun,” CNN reported.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in a statement, said that the two Koreas are one united people who should work together towards reunification.
“We are not a people that should be confronting each other, we should be living in unity. We have long waited for this moment to happen. All of us,” Kim said.
“The road I have used today, I sincerely hope every South and North Korean citizen can use this road. We will be able to enjoy peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula without having to fear the war,” he added.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in also reiterated that a new era of peace has begun and there will not be any more war on the Korean Peninsula.
The two leaders also agreed for denuclearisation of the peninsula. While Kim did not appear to mention denuclearisation in his speech, Moon said that the two sides wanted to achieve complete denuclearisation.
“Chairman Kim Jong-un and I have agreed that complete denuclearisation will be achieved, and that is our common goal,” President Moon added.
The declaration on denuclearisation read, “South and North Korea shared the view that the measures being initiated by North Korea are very meaningful and crucial for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and agreed to carry out their respective roles and responsibilities in this regard. South and North Korea agreed to actively seek the support and cooperation of the international community for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.”
Before the joint declaration, the two Korean leaders held a ceremonial tree-planting, wherein the two shovelled some soil onto a pine tree that was already in the ground before the leaders arrived.
The tree dates back to 1953, the year the armistice agreement of the Korean War was signed. Kim used soil from a mountain on the southern island of Jeju while Moon used earth from Mount Paektu in the north to plant the tree.
The two Korean leaders separately watered the tree with water from the other’s territory respectively.
The duo will attend an elaborate dinner, to be held around 6.30 pm local time, that will include symbolic dishes originating from both the Korean countries.
This is the first time in 11 years that an inter-Korean summit is being held between the two Korean leaders.
The summit is expected to set the stage for the first meeting between the United States President Donald Trump and Kim, either in May or June.