North and South Korea have faced a tumultuous history that has left many families ripped apart and the overall quality of life bleak for many North Koreans. On Friday (April 27), nearly 65 years in the making, the two leaders have come together to commit to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and for the formal end of the Korean War.
According to CNN, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made history as the two embraced, planted a tree, and talked alone for more than 30 minutes. The two signed the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula, which ultimately committed the two countries to ending the war formally and the removal of the nuclear weapons. This was vastly different from the other meeting of the two countries that occurred nearly 10 years ago.
The moment was historic, as the Kim addressed the world’s media for the first time and promised that the Koreas “will be united as one country.” He even took it a step further (literally) as he became the first North Korean leader to cross the military demarcation line into South Korea. Kim then invited Moon to step in North Korea (Moon hesitantly accepted).
While the Panmunjom Declaration is vague on the specifics of Pyongyang’s (capital of North Korea) nuclear capabilities and did not state what the country would get for agreeing to denuclearization; the two leaders did make it clear they would keep in touch by phone, suspend propaganda broadcasts into each other’s country and meet again in Pyongyang in the fall. However, there is still a lot of work to be done. Both China and the U.S. must agree to any final peace dea,l as they were participants in the original conflict dating back to 1950.
Despite an armistice being signed in 1953, there was no formal peace treaty ever concluded, meaning that technically, the peninsula is still at war.