North and South Korea Vow to Denuclearize, Co-Host 2032 Olympics


South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pose for photographs on the top of Mt. Paektu, North Korea September 20, 2018.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed Pyongyang's "important commitments" made by Pyongyang during Wednesday's (Sep 19) inter-Korean summit, adding Washington was ready to begin negotiating immediately to achieve the denuclearise of North Korea "by January 2021".

Moon was speaking on his return to Seoul after a three-day summit with Kim in Pyongyang.

Mr. Trump noted other gains, including North Korea releasing American prisoners, returning remains of US soldiers from the Korean War and stopping its nuclear and missile tests.

Moon's parents fled the North during the 1950-53 Korean War, shortly before Moon was born in South Korea in 1953.

Mr Pompeo cited North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's decision to "complete the previously announced dismantlement of the Tongchang-ri site in the presence of U.S. and worldwide inspectors as a step toward the final fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea".

Moon, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and their wives attended the performance of "The Glorious Country" at Pyongyang's May Day Stadium on Wednesday night where they observed thousands of performers working in precise unison. "The U.S. troops stationed in South Korea will be adjusted in proportion to the shared sense of threat and capability needed to ensure Seoul's protection against those threats", he said.

Many South Koreans also feel drawn to the volcano, which, according to Korean mythology, was the birthplace of Dangun, the founder of the first ancient Korean kingdom, and has always been considered one of the most lovely places on the peninsula.

Moon says relations between the rivals should improve so that more South Koreans can visit the volcano.

But inter-Korean relations continue to grow closer, and the trip to Paektu highlighted the close relationship between the two leaders.

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And progress on freezing operations at Nyongbyon - which is probably not North Korea's only nuclear production site - remains contingent on the USA making concessions of its own, steps that could be politically unpalatable for many in Washington, including among hawks in Trump's own administration and in Congress.

But there have been concerns in South Korea and the United States that ending the war would ultimately prompt China and Russian Federation, if not North Korea, to demand that the United Nations Command (UNC), which overlaps with US forces in South Korea, be disbanded and leave.

Kim pledged to work toward the "complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula" during two meetings with Moon earlier this year and at his summit with Trump. Experts say the destruction of the missile engine test site and launch pad wouldn't represent a material step in the denuclearization of North Korea, which declared its nuclear force complete past year and has designed its most powerful missiles to be fired from vehicles.

In their agreement, the North also said it would "permanently close" a missile engine testing site and launch facility in Tongchang-ri "in the presence of experts from relevant nations".

Regarding questions about Moon's ambitious assessment policies to highlight South Korea's ability to fulfill the country's self-assigned role of mediator, Snyder said President Moon mediated the stalled dialogue process on denuclearization quite successfully.

Moon continued, "Here, at this place today, I propose we move forward toward the big picture of peace in which the past 70-year-long hostility can be eradicated and we can become one again".

Moon noted that, unlike in the past, when the North wished to deal only with the U.S. on nuclear issues, the two Koreas had agreed that progress on inter-Korean relations was directly linked with the success of talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

Weather permitting, Moon and Kim will visit the crater lake on top of Mt. Baekdu by cable auto.

Kim's decision to dismantle its key missile site at Dongchang-ri in the presence of worldwide observers is what Pompeo said prompted his decision to make the invitation. On Wednesday, Trump hailed the Pyongyang summit, telling reporters outside the White House there had been "tremendous progress" and it was "very good news".

The North Korea ball is thoroughly back in Washington's court.