North, South Korea agree to end nuke program

Seoul and Pyongyang reach breakthrough agreements during historic leaders’ summit
SEOUL: The leaders of North and South Korea agreed on Friday for “complete denuclearization” and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, according to local media reports.
The deal followed a historic bilateral summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the Joint Security Area of Panmunjom in the South.
“The two leaders solemnly declared […] that there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and a new age of peace has dawned,” they said in a joint declaration after the summit, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.
They also reaffirmed the countries’ earlier agreement for “a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through complete denuclearization”.
Yonhap said the two Koreas agreed to push for three- or four-way talks involving the U.S. and China to replace the cease-fire agreement that brought the Korean War to a tentative close in 1953.
The South and North “will not use any form of force against each other,” Yonhap cited the joint declaration as saying.
Moon and Kim also “agreed to gradually realize arms reduction when their military tension is removed and trust is practically established.”
Amid news of the historic breakthrough, U.S. President Donald Trump said “lots of great things have been happening over the last 24 hours”.
Trump said he does not think Kim is manipulating the talks, but warned Washington will no longer be “played like a fiddle” as it had been in the past.
“We’re not going to be played,” he said. “We will, I think, come up with a solution, and if we don’t we leave the room. With great respect we leave the room and we just keep it going.”
Trump is slated for a historic sit-down with Kim in either May or June. If it materializes it will be the first time a serving U.S. president meets a North Korean leader.
Washington and Pyongyang are down to two countries for a potential site for the meeting, according to Trump.
The two sides are to follow up with general-level military talks by the end of next month, along with Red Cross dialogue to handle humanitarian matters such as reunions for relatives separated by their heavily guarded border.
Meanwhile, Moon and Kim were joined by the latter’s wife, Ri Sol-ju, who crossed into the South later in the day to attend an evening banquet featuring renowned dishes from both sides of the border.
*Sorwar Alam in Ankara and Michael Hernandez in Washington contributed to this report.–AA

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