North Korea hails 'a new era of peace' after historic summit between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in

State news agency reports 'candid' talks over denuclearisation of peninsula

Tom Barnes
Saturday 28 April 2018 14:40
Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in make history by stepping into each other's territory at South Korea summit

North Korean state media has hailed the historic summit with the South as a turning point in relations between the neighbouring nations.

The North’s KCNA news agency said its leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in had pledged to work towards “complete denuclearisation” on the peninsula in talks on Friday.

In a break from its usual protocols, KCNA lauded the negotiations between Mr Kim and Mr Moon, reporting reporting the pair had promised a “fresh start” in North-South relations, and enjoyed dinner in an “amicable atmosphere overflowing with feelings of blood relatives”.

The meeting, the first involving a North Korean leader on the southern side of the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), saw the two nations agree to formally end the Korean War, 68 years after the conflict broke out.

“At the talks, both sides had a candid and open-hearted exchange of views on the matters of mutual concern, including the issues of improving the North-South relations, ensuring peace on the Korean Peninsula and the denuclearisation of the peninsula,” the state-owned agency said.

“Kim Jong-un said that the meeting at such special place would mark an occasion of giving once again hope and dream for the future to all people.

“He said he felt once again the national mission and duty to usher in a new era of peace and reunification, after putting an end to the history of division and confrontation, and that he came today with the thought that he would fire a signal flare at the starting line writing a new history.”

In the South, media replayed striking scenes of the two leaders meeting at the border, while the North’s main state newspaper published a multipage spread with photos from the visit.

However, despite a warming in the fractious relationship between the two Koreas, the Panmunjom Declaration signed by Mr Kim and Mr Moon did not address questions over whether Pyongyang was willing to give up its nuclear arsenal.

Most of the specific commitments outlined in the official declaration focused on inter-Korean relations, prompting guarded but optimistic praise from world leaders.

President Donald Trump said that only time would tell whether peace could be achieved on the peninsula, but that he did not think Kim was “playing”.

“It’s never gone this far. This enthusiasm for them wanting to make a deal ... We are going to hopefully make a deal,” he told reporters.

Mr Trump added he would maintain pressure on the North not to “repeat the mistakes of past administrations”.

An editorial in the official China Daily on Saturday said denuclearisation could end hostilities between the two sides and “usher in a new era of development” on the peninsula, but noted Friday’s declaration lacked a plan for achieving the goal.

“The denuclearisation of the peninsula, written into the Panmunjom Declaration, is only a prospect with no specific plan.

“That is because such specifics can be reached only between the US and North Korea, and South Korea has only limited authority to bargain,” it said.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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