South and North Korea made history today, resolving to officially conclude the Korean War. The bitter conflict and civil war began in 1950 and went ended with the secession of North and South Korea. For over 60 years, tensions between the two nations had been so bitter that no North Korean leader had ever visited the South.
The demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, which even today is riddled with explosives, stood as a testament to their unceasing animosity. Passage from one country to the other was also largely forbidden and dangerous. Fishing in the waters between the Koreas could provoke ugly naval battles.
North Korea had in recent years developed what it promised was a fearsome and powerful arsenal of nuclear weapons, vowing only to disarm and give them up if the South ended the war.
However, according to a new peace accord signed by North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in “South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.”
An exact timeline for disarming North Korea’s nuclear arms program could be difficult to ascertain and implement, leaving some skeptics concerned that it is wishful thinking at best.
Some of the most shocking moments during the 30 minute diplomatic meeting occurred when Kim Jong-un admitted to the poor infrastructure of his nation, a rarity for a man who fashions himself an almighty “Supreme Leader.”
When President Moon spoke of his desire to visit the North, Kim alluded to the poor quality of the roads by responding “It will be very embarrassing.” He also spoke of how impressed the North Korean delegation was of South Korea’s bullet train during their Olympic visit.
Kim also joked about disturbing President Moon’s sleep schedule, saying “I heard you had your early-morning sleep disturbed many times because you had to attend the N.S.C. meetings because of us.”
He added “Getting up early in the morning must have become a habit for you. I will make sure that your morning sleep won’t be disturbed.”
The Koreas also mentioned plans for a larger conference involving the United States and possibly China to replace the Korean War’s armistice with a proper peace treaty.