Koreas issue non-conflict declaration

By Li Ruohan in Seoul Source:Global Times Published: 2018/9/19 23:23:40

Kim, Moon agree to denuclearize peninsula, pledge to end military tensions

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in exchange documents during a signing ceremony after their summit on Wednesday. Kim agreed to close a missile testing site in front of international inspectors as a rare inter-Korean summit unfolded in Pyongyang, and would soon make a historic visit to Seoul. Photo: AFP

China welcomes the consensus reached by North Korea and South Korea on ending military tensions and realizing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, moves that require the US to make the next crucial step, said analysts.

As a neighbor, China always supports improved relations between North Korea and South Korea, and the efforts that the two Koreas have made for reconciliation through dialogues and negotiations, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press conference on Wednesday.

China expects the two Koreas to continue efforts to promote long-term peace and stability in the region, said Geng. 

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in made the pledge on ending military tension and denuclearizing the peninsula at a joint press conference on Wednesday, following a second round of talks during Moon's three-day visit to Pyongyang.

At the press conference, Kim said he wished to make the peninsula nuclear-free.

Moon said he and Kim have agreed for the first time on ways to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. In addition, they agreed to end military tensions and transform the inter-Korean border into a "peace zone."  The results are encouraging and deserve a positive response from the international community, especially as the summit was held against the backdrop of a months-long impasse in the denuclearization negotiations, Zheng Jiyong, director of the Center for Korean Studies of Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

In the joint declaration signed by Moon and Kim in Pyongyang, North Korea expressed its willingness to take additional steps, such as the permanent destruction of its main Yongbyon nuclear facility, if the US takes corresponding measures in accordance with the spirit of the North Korea-US summit agreement reached on June 12 in Singapore.

North Korea also agreed to permanently destroy the Tongchang-ri engine test site and missile launching pads in the presence of experts from the countries concerned, according to the Pyongyang joint declaration.

Zheng hailed Pyongyang's commitment to denuclearization as the highlight of the inter-Korean summit, noting that the ball is now in the US court. 

Though denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula sounds like a huge attraction to Trump as a political asset for his presidential term, the US still holds a skeptical attitude toward North Korea, which makes the process prone to uncertainties, said Zheng.

Great impetus

After Kim and Moon signed the summit agreement, defense chiefs from both Koreas signed a separate agreement on military affairs in the presence of the two countries' top leaders.

Kim promised to accelerate inter-Korean peace talks, further develop inter-Korean relations and to visit the South Korean capital Seoul, in the near future. Moon noted that they reached consensus to eliminate all threats of war on the entire Korean Peninsula, Xinhua reported.

The consensus reached during this inter-Korean summit has the equivalent effect of a declaration ending the Korean War (1950-53) as it would help prevent military tension and conflict between the two Koreas, Lee Seong-hyon, director of the Center for Chinese Studies at the Sejong Institute in South Korea, told the Global Times on Wednesday. "The summit will serve as a great impetus for the denuclearization process on the peninsula," said Zheng. "The meetings are also a guarantee that military conflict on the peninsula will not break out and the situation will remain stable."

The summit further consolidates the positive momentum gained from the previous summits between leaders from North Korea, South Korea, the US and China, said a number of analysts from those countries. This summit's agreement will ensure that peace and stability will become a mainstream trend on the Korean Peninsula, they said.

The best thing to come from this summit isn't who conceded what to whom, but that talks such as these have become the new normal, Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Washington-based Centre for the National Interest, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Frequent communication is the only way to ensure that when Washington or Seoul have differences of opinion with Pyongyang, the situation won't return to the days of threatening "fire and fury," Kazianis noted.

China's contribution

Coincidently, Wednesday also marked the 13th anniversary of the release of the Joint Statement of the Fourth Round of the Six-Party Talks, better known as "9/19 Joint Statement," which was also a major breakthrough in the denuclearization of the peninsula.

That joint statement issued by China, North Korea, South Korea, the US, Russia and Japan show some important consensus including North Korea's commitment "to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning, at an early date, to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to IAEA safeguards," and the US' affirmation that "it has no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade the DPRK (North Korea) with nuclear or conventional weapons."

Analysts said although the two Koreas are playing key roles in pushing for détente, China as a major power and neighbor will continue to make contributions toward establishing a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Xinhua contributed to this story

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