South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met Friday in the demilitarized zone between their countries, the third time the leaders of the rival nations have met since the 1950-53 Korean War. Kim crossed into South Korea, then invited Moon to step into North Korea, and after an initial meeting, the two leaders met privately on a bridge for 30 minutes. In a declaration they signed Friday evening, Kim and Moon pledged to pursue "a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through complete denuclearization" and said they hoped to sign a peace treaty this year to finally end the Korean War. Kim and Moon also helped plant a pine tree dating back to 1953.
The final declaration "played it safe Friday, repeating a previous vow to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons but failing to provide any specific measures or forge a potential breakthrough," The Associated Press says. The "vague statement" essentially "kicks the issue down the road to a much-anticipated summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in coming weeks." Kim gave a nod to the low expectations. "We have reached big agreements before but were unable to fulfill them," he said after his initial meeting with Moon. "There are skeptical views on whether the meeting today will yield meaningful results" but "if we maintain a firm will and proceed forward hand in hand, it will be impossible at least for things to get worse than they are now."
"We should be living in unity," Kim told reporters after signing the declaration. "We have long waited for this moment to happen. All of us. ... The road I have used today, I sincerely hope every South and North Korean citizen can use this road." He did not mention denuclearization, but a spokesman for Moon shrugged: "The agreement is a binding document. His speech is not." Kim and Moon and their wives will attend a banquet Friday night. Peter Weber