With a self-proclaimed “sense of urgency and excitement,” Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea, told the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday that “something miraculous has taken place on the Korean Peninsula,” namely, reunification efforts.
“For the first time in history,” he stated, “the leader of North Korea (officially known as the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea, or DPRK) crossed the Military Demarcation Line to visit Panmunjeom” – with the resolve “to usher in an era of peace and prosperity.”
Moreover, he continued, “a historic summit between the United States and North Korea was also held on the Sentosa Island in Singapore,” in which both sides “agreed to work towards achieving complete denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, ending hostile relations and establishing a permanent peace regime.”
According to the South Korean President, North Korea dismantled its nuclear test site in Punggye-ri under the observation of the international community and his country suspended large-scale joint military exercises with the US.
He Noted that that last week in Pyongyang, during his third meeting with DPRK’s Chairman, Kim Jong Un, they agreed to turn the Peninsula into “a land of peace,” echoing Chairman Kim’s “hope of completing denuclearization as soon as possible to focus on economic development.”
President Moon detailed that Chairman Kim committed to permanently dismantle the missile engine test site and launch platform in Dongchang-ri along with a “firm willingness” to take additional denuclearization measures, including the permanent dismantlement of nuclear facilities in Yongbyon, as the US States takes corresponding measures.
Over the past 65 years, the Korean Peninsula has remained under an armistice –making “an urgent task” an official end to the War.
“I look forward to seeing bold measures for denuclearization implemented among the related countries, leading to the declaration to end the War,” Mr. Moon asserted.
Prelude to peace
Turning to the 2017 Olympic Truce, Mr. Moon called it a “prelude to peace.”
“The participation of North Korea's athletes and delegation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics provided a decisive momentum to break the impasse in building peace,” he maintained.
Just over a month after the Pyeongchang Paralympic Winter Games had closed, both leaders met for the first time in North Korea’s Panmunjeom village, where the 1953 Armistice Agreement pausing the Korean War was signed.
On 20 April, North Korea officially ended its policy of nuclear development and on 9 September, the 70th anniversary of its foundation, committed to peace and prosperity instead of boasting about its nuclear capabilities.
“North Korea moved out of long-standing isolation…and stands before the international community once again,” he said, encouraging everyone to “assure Chairman Kim that he has made the right decision in committing to denuclearization.”
Mr. Moon recalled that when each Korea acceded to the UN in 1991, they respectively told the Assembly that though separate now, they would eventually become one.
Twenty-seven years later they have “crossed the barriers of division and are tearing down the walls,” he concluded, “realizing the pledge they made on that day.”