North and South Korean leaders sign joint agreement on denuclearisation in 'leap forward' for peace

Trump hails deal, which could see North Korea invite international observers for dismantling of nuclear and missile sites, as ‘very exciting’

Adam Withnall
Wednesday 19 September 2018 06:10 BST
North and South Korean leaders Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in sign joint agreement on denuclearisation

The North and South Korean leaders presented a joint agreement during their summit in Pyongyang on Wednesday that Kim Jong-un said represented a “leap forward” for peace on the peninsula.

At a joint press conference after the signing, South Korea‘s Moon Jae-in said North Korea had agreed to “permanently” shut down all of its nuclear and missile testing facilities, in the presence of international experts, as long as the US takes reciprocal measures.

The two sides agreed that Mr Kim would visit Seoul, in what would be a first for a North Korean leader. And the two leaders agreed a number of wide-ranging measures designed to increase cooperation and reduce the risk of armed clashes on the border.

Mr Kim said the pair had agreed to turn the Korean peninsula into a “land of peace without nuclear weapons and nuclear threats”.

The US had called for concrete developments regarding denuclearisation during Mr Moon’s three-day visit to Pyongyang, and Donald Trump suggested the joint agreement did not disappoint.

“Very exciting!” was his response to the news on Twitter. “Kim Jong-un has agreed to allow nuclear inspections, subject to final negotiations, and to permanently dismantle a test site and launch pad in the presence of international experts. In the meantime there will be no Rocket or Nuclear testing,” Mr Trump wrote.

Mr Kim has promised the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula before, after which US officials said they suspected work continued to be carried out at North Korea’s nuclear sites in secret.

The most practical details in Mr Kim and Mr Moon’s agreement came with regards to inter-Korean projects and relations. The pair agreed to launch a joint Korean bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics, as well as pooling resources for major sporting events before then.

They agreed to establish a joint military committee to evaluate how to reduce tensions and maintain communication to defuse crises and prevent accidental clashes.

And according to a joint statement signed by the countries’ defence chiefs, the two agreed to establish buffer zones along their land and sea borders to prevent accidental clashes. They will withdraw 11 guard posts from the demilitarised zone by December and establish a no-fly zone above the military demarcation line that bisects the two Koreas, applying to planes, helicopters and drones.

With the main business of the day over, North Korea was expected to hold a huge mass games spectacle in the evening, with Mr Moon as the special guest.

The north had put the games, which feature tens of thousands of performers dancing and flipping placards in unison to create giant mosaics and slogans, on a back burner for the past several years, but revived them for this month’s celebrations of its 70th founding anniversary. In a performance for the anniversary, a giant photo of Mr Moon and Mr Kim shaking hands at their first summit in April was projected onto one side of the stands in Pyongyang’s 150,000-seat May Day Stadium.

Additional reporting by agencies

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