LOS ANGELES — The two Koreas said they were taking a step closer to peace by signing a joint military agreement that removes the threat of conflict on the Peninsula.
“The era of no war has started,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced at joint news conference alongside North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang Wednesday.
Pyongyang also agreed to destroy the Yongbyon nuclear site, which is believed to be used for the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, if the United States takes “corresponding measures.”
The announcement came as the two leaders met for the third time this year in the North Korean capital, as part of efforts with the US to contain the threat of war after a barrage of North Korean missile tests in 2017.
Moon and Kim also teased a potential historic fourth meeting between the two leaders, this time in the South Korean capital. The agreement stated that Kim would travel to Seoul “as soon as possible,” something no North Korean leader has ever done.
On the second day of a three-day summit in Seoul, the two leaders emerged from behind doors to sign the joint agreement, which they held up for the cameras and sealed with a handshake before both made short statements.
As part of the accord, North Korea committed to permanently close down the Tongchang-ri engine testing and missile launching site under the attendance of relevant experts, the South Korean President announced.
Moon expressed hope that talks would resume between North Korea and the US. “They have continuously shown their trust towards one another and I hope there will be another summit between the two countries as soon as possible,” Moon said.
US President Donald Trump weighed in on Twitter, calling the developments “very exciting.”
After their first summit in late April, Moon and Kim vowed to bring a formal end to the Korean war, a lofty goal that no Korean leaders have achieved since the conflict ended in a stalemate in 1953.
“The world is going to see how this divided nation is going to bring about a new future on his own,” Kim said, to applause from those gathered.
The leaders made other non-military announcements, including plans to submit a joint bid to host the 2032 Summer Olympics. They agreed to link railways and roads on the eastern and western side of the Korean Peninsula within this year. And they agreed to “normalize the Kaesong Industrial complex and Kumgang tourism project as soon as the conditions allow.”
Moon landed in North Korea Tuesday morning. It’s the third time the two leaders have met this year, but the first visit by a South Korean president to the North Korean capital since 2007.
Ahead of the visit, Moon and his administration said that the purpose of the trip was to work toward establishing a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.
“What I want to achieve is peace. Not a tentative change which could be volatile dependent on international situation, but irreversible, permanent and unwavering peace, regardless of what might happen on the global arena,” Moon said on Twitter ahead of his departure.