Moon-Kim summit to discuss denuclearization, peace process of Korean peninsula

Li Jiayao

by Yoo Seungki

SEOUL, April 25 (Xinhua) -- With two days left for the historic third summit between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and South Korea on Friday, more eyes are put on the border village of Panmunjom, where DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un will cross the military demarcation line (MDL) to become the first DPRK leader to set foot on South Korean soil since the Korean War ended in armistice in 1953.

Kim is expected to be greeted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in in front of the MDL, marked only by a low concrete slab on a narrow aisle between blue pavilions sitting in the middle of Panmunjom and spanning the two Koreas. It will be broadcast live to the entire world from the very first scene in which the two leaders shake hands.

The Moon-Kim summit has a historic meaning as denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is forecast to be on the main dialogue agenda for the leaders' meeting of the rival Koreas for the first time.

Previous inter-Korean summits were focused on the meeting itself of the leaders and the inter-Korean relations and cooperation. The denuclearization process was discussed in the form of six-party talks, which involved the two Koreas, China, the United States, Russia and Japan, but have been suspended since late 2008.

The DPRK leader showed his willingness to commit to denuclearization talks. According to a press release announced after Moon's special envoys met Kim in Pyongyang in early March, the DPRK side made it clear that it has no reason to possess a nuclear program if its security is guaranteed and military threats toward it are removed.

Kim said at the third Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) last week that his country will discontinue nuclear and missile tests, announcing to close down its main nuclear testing facility in Punggye-ri, where all of its six nuclear tests were conducted.

Another important matter high on the agenda of the Moon-Kim summit is setting the stage for a peace process on the Korean Peninsula.

The Blue House of South Korea has been preparing for the summit under the slogan of "Peace, a New Start". Moon said at a summit preparation meeting, "Let's make a new history of peace beyond division and confrontation."

Moon's office said last week that it was reviewing ways to turn the current armistice agreement into a peace agreement, raising expectations that the declaration of an end to the Korean War can be made after the summit.

The Korean Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27, 1953. As part of the efforts to launch the peace process, Moon and Kim would possibly agree to pull guard posts and heavy weapons out of the DMZ which is filled with razor-blade fences, tank traps, mines and watchtowers as well as hundreds of thousands of combat-ready troops.

Humanitarian issues can also be discussed, including the reunion of families separated across the heavily guarded border. Since the Korean War ended with armistice, people of the two sides have been banned from visiting and contacting each other.

However, discussions on inter-Korean economic cooperation are likely to be limited given the international sanctions on the DPRK over its nuclear and missile programs. The issue cannot be on the dialogue table until the denuclearization talks make progress, experts say.


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