DPRK, S. Korean leaders agree on additional efforts toward denuclearization

DPRK, S. Korean leaders agree on additional efforts toward denuclearization

PYONGYANG/SEOUL (Rahnuma): The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s top leader Kim Jong Un said here Wednesday that he and visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in had agreed to take additional steps toward making the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons and threats of armed conflict.

“The September declaration will open a higher level for the improvement in relations (between the DPRK and South Korea) … and bring closer the era of peace and prosperity,” Kim said at a press conference at the state guest house Paekhwawon soon after a second round of summit between him and Moon, referring to a joint declaration they had signed before meeting the press.

Kim said he wished to make the Korean Peninsula nuclear-free and stressed that the Panmunjom Declaration, signed during the first inter-Korean summit between him and Moon in April, would serve as the groundwork for the new era of peace on the peninsula.

The DPRK leader also said he would travel to the south to meet Moon in the near future, which would make him the first ever DPRK top leader to visit Seoul in modern history.

During the joint press conference, Moon said that both leaders had discussed the steps toward denuclearization for the first time.

The DPRK “has agreed to permanently shut down its Dongchang-ri missile engine testing facility and missile launch pad under the participation of experts from related countries,” Moon said.

Moon also said he hoped the talks between the DPRK and the United States would “quickly resume.”

Talks between the DPRK and the United States had stalled after the U.S. side called off a scheduled trip to Pyongyang by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, citing lack of progress in the denuclearization process.

The agreement signed by the two leaders called for steps to further improve inter-Korean ties.

The two sides have agreed to begin the work to reconnect their severed railways and roads across the heavily fortified border before the year’s end, according to the agreement.

Defense chiefs from both sides also signed a separate agreement on military affairs in the presence of the two leaders.

Moon arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday morning for a three-day visit amid mixed prospects for the denuclearization talks between the United States and the DPRK.

In a gesture of goodwill, the DPRK top leader appeared at the Pyongyang International Airport to receive Moon in person and with a grand welcoming ceremony. They rode together in a procession on the way to the state guest house and held talks for about two hours in the afternoon.

The DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that the two leaders on Tuesday had an “in-depth exchange of opinions on various issues arising in further accelerating the development of the north-south relations by honestly implementing the Panmunjom Declaration in an all-round manner.”

Included in Moon’s entourage are ministers, senior officials, lawmakers, representatives of the cultural sector and corporate leaders, obviously in line with the recent drive of the DPRK for economic reforms.

Moon is expected to conclude his historic three-day visit to Pyongyang on Thursday.

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