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South Korea's president says North Korea agrees to dismantle missile sites

20 September, 2018, 01:43 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Pool  Getty Images AsiaPac

In the fraught process of North Korean denuclearization, Pyongyang has hit the ball firmly into the U.S. court by offering to welcome worldwide inspectors to oversee the "permanent" dismantling of its missile-engine test site, and also to shut down its main nuclear complex at Yongbyon.

Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea and Kim Jong-un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea held the Inter-Korean Summit Meeting in Pyongyang on September 18-20, 2018.

Kim and Moon also agreed to collaborate on a bid to host the 2032 Summer Olympics.

Standing by her brother's side as he and Moon signed a denuclearization agreement Wednesday, Kim Jong Un would only use the pen Kim Yo Jong handed him to sign the joint statements.

"The North agreed to permanently close the Tongchang-ri missile engine test site and missile launch facility in the presence of experts from relevant nations", Moon told reporters.

The Korean leaders' summit meeting in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, was their third, and it was Moon's first visit to Pyongyang as South Korea's leader.

Although Trump has called on Pyongyang to give up all its nuclear weapons immediately, Kim has apparently been attempting to win rewards for each step it takes in the denuclearization process.

Though not directly linked to security, the leaders' announcement that they would seek a joint Summer Olympics was a significant move in terms of easing tensions and building trust.

"We are not afraid of future challenges", he said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (R), welcomes South Korean President Moon Jae-in during a ceremony at Pyongyang airport.

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The South Korean president is slated to wrap up his three-day trip to Pyongyang and return home Thursday morning. Within Trump's own administration, senior officials want North Korea to begin by declaring its nuclear and missile sites, rather than making piecemeal, unilateral concessions. North Korea has been demanding a declaration formally ending the Korean War, which was stopped in 1953 by a cease-fire, but neither leader mentioned it Wednesday as they read the joint statement.

They also adopted a separate military accord aimed at preventing armed clashes between the old foes, which are technically still at war because the Korean War ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

① The two sides agreed to further promote cultural and artistic exchanges, and to first conduct a performance of the Pyongyang Art Troupe in Seoul in October this year. South Korea also hosted the Pyeongchang Winter Games in February.

The latter offer is potentially the biggest move North Korea could make on denuclearization.

Unlike Trump's initial tweets praising the summit, the news brought a quick and negative response from Republican Sen.

For years since taking over the North following the 2011 death of his father, Kim Jong-un was portrayed by the outside world as a cold-blooded dictator who did everything to keep himself in power, including executing his uncle and having his half-brother assassinated with poison, while pushing for nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

Bruce Bennett, of the RAND Corporation in California, said Moon's strategy could put Seoul at odds with the United States.

Moon is expected to brief Trump on the latest inter-Korean summit.

But that promise wasn't specific, as he agreed to visit only "at an appropriate time". The signed agreement stated that Kim would travel to Seoul "as soon as possible", something no North Korean leader has ever done.

These talks were meant to be a precursor to a second summit for Kim and Trump.

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