North Korean state media announced Saturday Kim Jong Un’s commitment to a nuclear-free Korea through the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula.
“North and South Korea affirmed the common goal of realizing a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through complete denuclearization,” the Korean Central News Agency reported Saturday, commenting on Friday’s historic inter-Korean summit. “Sharing the understanding that the measures led and taken by the North and South are very meaningful, significant ones for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, (both sides) agreed to fulfill their respective responsibilities and roles going forward.”
Kim met South Korean President Moon Jae-in Friday at the border at the first inter-Korean summit in over a decade. During the summit — the third since the end of wartime hostilities — Kim became the first North Korean leader to visit South Korea since the signing of the armistice over six decades ago. In a joint statement following talks, Moon and Kim expressed a desire to denuclearize the peninsula.
That commitment was not only mentioned by KCNA, but it was also carried by the Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the ruling party.
Denuclearization IS however mentioned on page three, alongside other aspects of the joint declaration.
That’s a big deal as far as North Korean media goes, which has historically done a bare minimum of reporting on its commitments towards the goal in prior negotiations. pic.twitter.com/VJx06gq8dP
— Chad O’Carroll (@chadocl) April 28, 2018
Since Pyongyang began its diplomatic charm offensive, the world has only heard talk of North Korea’s commitment to denuclearization through third parties — such as South Korean diplomats, Chinese state media, and U.S. officials involved in laying the groundwork for President Donald Trump’s eventual meeting with the young North Korean leader.
A revelation to the people of North Korea that Kim is willing to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is noteworthy and potentially speaks volumes about his sincerity. At the same time though, denuclearization may be interpreted differently in Pyongyang, Seoul, and Washington, D.C. It remains to be seen if all countries are on the same page with this particular issue.
Furthermore, it should be noted a commitment to denuclearization is not the same as saying North Korea will abandon its nuclear arsenal. “I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,” former President Barack Obama stated in 2009. America has not forfeited its nuclear weapons.
New U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who recently made a secret trip to North Korea, believes Kim is “serious” about denuclearization, Pompeo said Friday. While North Korea has repeatedly credited the Korean people, Pompeo stressed the situation would not be as it is now without Trump’s leadership.
“Let there be no doubt, we would not be where we are today without President Trump’s maximum pressure campaign and the work that has been done all around the world to apply pressure to North Korea,” Pompeo explained.
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