The 2018 has been a year of historic change on the Korean Peninsula. The leaders of North and South Korea met three times, and President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also held their first summit in Singapore in June.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has invited Chairman Kim to visit South Korea, and President Trump has expressed willingness to meet Chairman Kim in a second summit. We welcome these positive developments for permanent peace in Korea.
In particular, we support the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration and the September 19 Pyongyang Joint Declaration signed between the leaders of South and North Korea, as well as the June 12 Singapore Summit Joint Statement signed between the leaders of the United States and North Korea.
These agreements lessen the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula and create a foundation for a lasting and stable peace regime. The Panmunjom and Pyongyang Declarations signed between the two Koreas opened the door to family reunions, civil society engagement, and concrete steps towards demilitarization.
Likewise, the Singapore Joint Statement emphasized the “establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations,” away from war and hostility towards normal diplomatic recognition. We applaud the leaders of South Korea, North Korea and the United States, who, on the brink of nuclear war last year, boldly chose the path toward peace.
As concrete steps in the spirit of the Singapore Joint Statement, North Korea has:
- Suspended its nuclear and missile tests, including destroying the Punggye-ri nuclear test site and inviting outside inspectors to verify that it has been destroyed;
- Agreed to “permanently dismantle the Dongchang-ri missile engine test site and launch platform under the observation of experts,” as well as dismantle its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon if “the United States takes corresponding measures”; and
- Returned the remains of fifty-five U.S. servicemen who had died there during the Korean War of 1950-1953.
On the other hand, the United States, thus far, has:
- Temporarily suspended major war drills with the South Korean military.
While commendable, this U.S. action is insufficient to sustain the normalization process.
In line with the important steps North Korea has taken toward peace and denuclearization and in support of unprecedented peace-building engagement between North and South Korea – demilitarization of the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom,