It will not be easy to trans­form the long­stand­ing Korean con­flict into a last­ing peace in a short pe­riod of time. Re­duc­tion of mil­i­tary ten­sions, con­fi­dence-build­ing and arms re­duc­tion are chal­leng­ing tasks.

Global Asia - - FEATURE ESSAY -

to be real. In­deed, a rocky road is ahead.

sec­ond, the lead­ers nar­rowed a per­pet­ual gap in mu­tual ne­go­ti­a­tions. Pre­vi­ously, south Korea fa­vored a func­tion­al­ist ap­proach based on the logic of “econ­omy first,” while North Korea al­ways in­sisted on “mil­i­tary-po­lit­i­cal is­sues first.” This was the first in­ter-korean sum­mit that con­verged on the pri­macy of mil­i­tary-po­lit­i­cal is­sues.

Third, and equally crit­i­cal, is the adop­tion of a writ­ten agree­ment on com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion. In the past, North Korea con­sis­tently re­fused to ac­cept the nu­clear is­sue as an agenda item in any in­ter-korean talks, ar­gu­ing that it was a mat­ter for dis­cus­sion solely be­tween the us and North Korea. but this time, Kim made a writ­ten com­mit­ment on com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion, which was even re­ported in the Rodong Sin­mun, an un­prece­dented ac­tion by the of­fi­cial daily of the Korean Work­ers’ Party. There was another sign of Kim’s com­mit­ment to com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion, in which he told Moon that North Korea’s nu­clear test sites in Pung­gye-ri were still us­able, but that he would close them in May in a trans­par­ent man­ner by invit­ing ex­perts and jour­nal­ists from the us and south Korea to wit­ness the oc­ca­sion. al­though he did not in­vite ex­perts, Kim did de­mol­ish the test sites on May 24 in the pres­ence of for­eign jour­nal­ists, sig­nal­ing a good start to­ward com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion.

Fourth, con­trary to com­mon un­der­stand­ing, Kim was prag­matic and re­al­is­tic. he men­tioned nei­ther a re­duc­tion and with­drawal of us forces in south Korea nor the sta­tus of the south Kore­aus al­liance as a pre­con­di­tion for North Korea’s de­nu­cle­ariza­tion. It was quite amaz­ing to hear him say that “once we start talk­ing, the us will know that I am not a per­son to launch nu­clear weapons at south Korea, the Pa­cific and the us.” and he iden­ti­fied to Moon what he wants from the us: fre­quent meet­ings, build­ing trust, end­ing war and es­tab­lish­ing a non-ag­gres­sion treaty. he then added, “[if these con­di­tions are met,] why would we have nu­clear weapons and suf­fer?” That is why he wanted to link de­nu­cle­ariza­tion to the process of end­ing war and build­ing a peace regime. as the dec­la­ra­tion says, if the process of end­ing the Korean War and trans­form­ing the armistice into a peace treaty oc­curs, his ef­forts to de­nu­cle­arize will cor­re­spond­ingly be ex­pe­dited.

Fi­nally, re­al­iz­ing that past agree­ments and dec­la­ra­tions were not im­ple­mented, both lead­ers pledged to im­ple­ment what they agreed to. such a com­mit­ment from them will make the agree­ments more binding than ever be­fore. equally in­ter­est­ing is that spe­cific dates for ma­jor meet­ings and events were iden­ti­fied in the dec­la­ra­tion in a very con­crete man­ner. high-level talks and a gen­eral-level mil­i­tary meet­ing were sched­uled for May. The re­unions of sep­a­rated fam­i­lies will

As ob­servers have pointed out, the Pan­munjom Dec­la­ra­tion seems too good and too com­pre­hen­sive

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