At the end of April, the leaders of North and South Korea agreed to work on removing nuclear arms from the Korean Peninsula and to officially resolve continued tensions from the Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953.
The historic summit meeting occurred in South Korea, and, for the first time, Kim Jong-un stepped foot in South Korea. According to The New York Times, both leaders vowed to negotiate an official treaty to take the place of the truce that has kept an uneasy tension between the divided Koreas. The peace treaty was one of the incentives that North Korea has demanded in exchange for taking apart its nuclear program.
CNN stated that Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s leader, Moon Jae-in, took part in a symbolic tree planting ceremony in the Demilitarized Zone with a tree from 1953 which was the year that the Korean War came to an unofficial end.
“South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula” were the words of a statement signed by Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in after their meeting at the border village of Panmunjom.
The Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula committed the two countries to a nuclear-free peninsula and talks to bring a formal end to the Korean War.
Kim Jong-un stated that it was a historic “starting point” for peace between North and South Korea in an effort to remove the line that divides the two Koreas.
President of the United States Donald Trump was also a player in the arrangements between North and South Korea. The U.S. troops stationed in South Korea have always been a source of tension between Kim Jong-un and Trump. The North Korean leader demanded that before starting talks with South Korea about denuclearization, the US had to withdraw its troops from South Korea. However, Kim Jong-un has dropped his demand, and “Moon said Kim is willing to give up US troops’ removal as a precondition for discussions over denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula,” according to CNN.
Although President Trump is not withdrawing troops as of this time, he made it clear that it is possible in the future, as reported by the Washington Post.
This reconciliation between the two Koreas has proved to be a huge stepping stone not only for the Korean Peninsula, but for the U.S. as well.