PYeONGYANG: The leaders of North and South Korea announced a wide range of agreements on Wednesday which they said were a major step toward peace on the Korean Peninsula.
But the premier pledge on denuclearisation contained a big condition, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un stating he’d permanently dismantle his main nuclear complex only if the United States takes unspecified corresponding measures.
Compared to the vague language of their two summits earlier this year, Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed in their second day of meetings to an ambitious programme meant to tackle soaring tensions last year that had many fearing war as the North tested a string of increasingly powerful weapons.
Kim promised to accept international 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.
But while containing several tantalizing offers, their joint statement appeared to fall short of the major steps many in Washington have been looking for — such as a commitment by Kim to provide a list of North Korea’s nuclear facilities, a solid stepby-step timeline for closing them down, or a deal to allow inspectors to assess progress or discover violations.
It also was unclear what “corresponding steps” North Korea wants from the US to dismantle its nuclear site.
The question is whether it will be enough for US President Trump to pick up where Moon has left off.
Trump said that the outcome of the summit was “very good news” and that “we’re making tremendous progress” with North Korea.
He didn’t indicate in his remarks whether the US would be willing to take further steps to encourage North Korean action on denuclearisation.