Dream comes true for Moon: climbing North Korea's sacred Mount Paektu

Lester Mason
September 21, 2018

The leaders of the rival Koreas took to the road for the final day of their summit Thursday, standing on the peak of a handsome volcano considered sacred in the North and a centerpiece of propaganda used to legitimize the Kim family's rule, their hands clasped and raised in a pose of triumph. 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.

He made the commitment during a meeting with South Korea President Moon Jae-in, which appeared to regain traction lost since the denuclearization deal struck at a June summit between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim in Singapore. The North has long seen the U.S. military's large footprint in South Korea as a direct threat.

After the summit, Moon said he will pass along Kim's messages for the USA and the Trump administration.

Mr. Trump said they would wait and see what North Korea does next.

Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, said while the worldwide community was desperately seeking "dramatic changes" in the North - the relinquishment of all its missile and nuclear programs - it was "miraculous" that Wednesday's agreement had been reached.

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'".

Trump also tweeted that North Korea has agreed to conduct searches for the remains of soldiers who went missing during the Korean War.

"He hoped a second summit with Trump would take place in the near future, in order to move the denuclearisation process along quickly".

United States officials said the ambiguity about what Washington was supposed to do for the North to close its nuclear complex at Yongbyon gave Kim room to argue that Washington had not done enough for North Korea to follow through on its pledges.


The Korean summit comes as the USA effort to get North Korea to shut down its nuclear weapons program has met with mixed results.

Ahead of this week's talks, it was expected that two leaders would continue to work to formally end to the Korean War, which ended in an armistice 65 years ago. At the summit the two men held hands and thrust them into the air as they posed for a photo with their wives, the lake in the background.

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.

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

On the sidelines of the summit, the defense ministers of the two Koreas signed a military agreement that centers on creating a buffer zone to prevent cross-border hostilities.

The leaders of the two Koreas agreed on steps aimed at advancing North Korea's denuclearization.

He made the announcement at the press briefing that followed the signing of the Pyeongyang Joint Agreement on Wednesday.

They also agreed to withdraw 11 guard posts from the Demilitarized Zone by December and to establish a no-fly zone above the military demarcation line that bisects the two Koreas that would apply to planes, helicopters and drones.

Kim and Moon earlier smiled and chatted as they walked down a hallway and into a meeting room to finalize the joint statement, which also said that the leaders would push for a Korean Peninsula without nuclear weapons and to "eliminate all the danger of war".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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