End to Korean War could break nuclear impasse, says Moon

South Korean President Moon Jae-in right and first lady Kim Jung-sook bow as they leave for Seoul at the Samjiyon airport in North Korea Thursday

The South Korean leader said Wednesday he looked "forward to North Korea and the United States resuming their dialogue soon, based on the achievements of this Pyongyang summit". That visit to the North Korean capital saw him again play the role of peacemaker as talks between the USA and North Korea appeared on the verge of collapsing.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in traveled to Pyongyang Tuesday to meet again with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un.

The U.S. and South Korean leaders plan to meet in New York City next week during the United Nations General Assembly meeting. The US and North Korea remain at odds over which should come first, denuclearisation or ending the war.

Emphasizing the North's determination to denuclearize, Moon said, "The terms "dismantlement of the missile engine test site under the observation of experts" and "permanent dismantlement" used in the Pyongyang Declaration have the same meaning as 'verifiable and irreversible disarmament'".

President Trump said Wednesday that "tremendous progress" was being made toward North Korea giving up nuclear weapons.

Kim also pledged establishing closer ties with the South.

Further, Kim said that the full extent of North Korean denuclearization is still dependent on American cooperation in the peace process, with policy experts wary that all of Kim's demands will be met by the powers that be in D.C.

As Channel News Asia reports, "Mount Paektu is the mythical origin of the Korean people, featured in South Korea's national anthem and various North Korean propaganda".

Earlier in the day, the leaders smiled broadly as they posed at the summit of Paektu, their wives grinning at their sides, a brilliant blue sky and the deep crater lake that tops the volcano in the background.

South Korean president Moon Jae-in right and first lady Kim Jung-sook leave for Seoul at Samjiyon airport in North Korea Thursday Sept. 20 2018
South Korean president Moon Jae-in right and first lady Kim Jung-sook leave for Seoul at Samjiyon airport in North Korea Thursday Sept. 20 2018

"The peace treaty will be fulfilled as the final step of complete denuclearization".

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he was concerned the latest summit between Kim and Moon would undermine USA efforts to impose "maximum pressure" on the North.

Kim promised to accept worldwide inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and to visit Seoul soon, and both leaders vowed to work together to try to host the Summer Olympics in 2032.

Kim Jong Un, too, has visited the mountain around major developments in North Korea, such as before he executed top officials including his uncle Jang Song-thaek in late 2013, and following North Korea's fifth nuclear test in 2016. It also holds importance to both countries as the birthplace of the storied ruler of the first kingdom of Korea.

Neighboring countries China, Japan and Russian Federation also welcomed the outcome of the inter-Korean summit - particularly the easing of military tensions and the promotion of peace talks and denuclearization.

While the two Koreas took a significant first step, the Pyongyang Declaration is missing some of the key demands from the USA, such an inventory of its nuclear program.

The leaders are basking in the glow of the joint statement they signed Wednesday.

According to a statement signed by the countries' defense chiefs, the two Koreas agreed to establish buffer zones along their land and sea borders to reduce military tensions and prevent accidental clashes.

The five-point declaration also states that the two sides agreed to expand the cessation of military hostility in regions of confrontation - such as the Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) - "into the substantial removal of the danger of war across the entire Korean Peninsula and a fundamental resolution of the hostile relations".

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