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Korean defense chiefs adopt ‘military pact’ after Kim & Moon sign joint statement

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the North Korean leader Kim Jong un have signed a joint statement following their bilateral talks in Pyongyang.

Besides the joint statement on inter-Korean relations signed by the leaders, the countries’ defense chiefs also signed a separate military pact, Moon’s press secretary Yoon Young-chan told reporters. While the content of the defense agreement has not yet been made public, Yonhap reports that Defense Minister Song Young-moo and the North Korean No Kwang-chol signed a formal deal on the implementation of the so-called Panmunjom Declaration.

Speaking to the press on the outcome of Moon’s visit to North Korea, Kim noted that the “agreement at Pyongyang summit will advance an era of peace, prosperity.” Kim especially noted that the military agreement will help to denuclearize the peninsula and reach a lasting peace. He also agreed to travel soon to South Korea to meet Moon for the fourth time since the reconciliation effort between the neighbors began with the Olympic Peace diplomacy earlier this year. To emphasize their commitment to peace the nations have decided to send a united team to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and will submit a joint bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics.

Moon meanwhile told reporters that the neighbors finally managed to agree to “specific denuclearization steps.” The South Korean president also noted that the leaders are striving to turn the demilitarized zone into a zone of peace, and that work will soon begin to reconnect cross-border rails and roads before the end of the year.

The Panmunjom Declaration, signed in April during the first meeting between the Korean leaders, mandated both countries to undertake joint efforts to get rid of military tension and to eliminate the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula. The declaration also called for South and North Korea to completely cease all hostile acts against each other. South and North Korea also agreed to take various military measures to ensure active mutual cooperation, exchanges, visits and contacts.

Moon arrived in North Korea on Tuesday morning for the third face-to-face meeting with his counterpart. Previously, the leaders held talks on April 27 and May 26 in the border village of Panmunjom, in an unprecedented effort to reconcile the two nations following the Korean War (1950-53). Part of Moon’s agenda for the trip was restarting the US-Korean dialogue that hit a brick wall last month, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled his visit to Pyongyang.

One of the major breakthroughs of the Pyongyang summit was the consent given by the North to allow international inspectors to document a “permanent dismantlement” of its key missile facilities. North Korea also agreed to closing its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon – although only if the United States takes reciprocal conciliatory steps, Moon told reporters. The Korean Peninsula should turn into a “land of peace without nuclear weapons and nuclear threats,” he noted.

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