Pyeongyang Joint Declaration presents new future

The Herald

By Pyeongyang Press Corps
President Moon Jae-in and North Korean Chairman of the State Affairs Commission Kim Jong Un have jointly adopted the September Pyeongyang Joint Declaration that offers a new vision of the future for the two Koreas. It came on Sept. 19 after two sessions of the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit Pyeongyang.

The Pyeongyang declaration outlines the bigger picture and the overall framework for what are expected to be the three top agenda items: the improvement of the inter-Korean relationship, the acceleration of North Korea-U.S. dialogue on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and the easing of military tension between the South and the North.

The South and North Korean leaders acknowledged that last April’s Panmunjeom Declaration has been faithfully carried out, and then they agreed on complete denuclearization and an end to military hostility that has long plagued the Korean Peninsula.

President Moon said in a joint press conference that, “The South and the North have adopted a set of concrete measures to denuclearize the peninsula. Pyeongyang vowed to shut down its Dongchang-ri missile engine testing facility and missile launch pad, with experts from allied countries participating in the process.” The North also agreed to carry out extra measures, such as a permanent closing of its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon in line with corresponding U.S. action, he added.

The Pyeongyang declaration includes practical steps aimed at boosting inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation, covering infrastructure, tourism, healthcare, reunions of Korean War-separated families, arts and performances, and even sports.

The two sides agreed that they would re-open the shuttered Gaesong Industrial Complex and resume the stalled Geumgangsan Mountain tours, as well as increase cooperation on the environment, especially on forestry, that has already kicked off, and, also, on health care concerning the prevention of any inflow or spread of contagious diseases.

In addition, Seoul and Pyeongyang agreed to open a permanent family reunion center and allow war-separated family members to stay in touch via video calls or letters. Under the agreement, a Pyeongyang performance troupe will put on a show in Seoul in October, the two Koreas will seek ways to co-host a bid for the Olympic Summer Games in 2032, and, also, they will cooperate on official events to mark the centenary of the March First Independence Movement next year.

The agreement also included a return visit to Seoul by the North Korean leader, a first in history. “Kim’s Seoul visit would be the first-ever by the North’s supreme leader and would mark a true milestone in the inter-Korean relationship,” said President Moon.

Expressing his hopes that these outcomes would help to get the stalemated dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea back on track, President Moon said, “I hope another Washington-Pyeongyang summit will come soon. To this end, the two Koreas will work all-out to help find a common point where the U.S. and the North will be able to make an agreement.”

Chairman Kim defined the declaration as one that “enshrines a breath of new hope and the spirit of the people and, also, their dreams that will come true, for sure.”

“For the past 220 days, North and South Korea have marched together hand-in-hand, marking days that have been so warm with our blood relationship and that have been so hot with our desire for unity and unification,” said Chairman Kim. “We are now witnessing the realization of what we wrote in Panmunjeom in April, that, ‘A new history begins now.’ We’ll bring an end to the tragedy of division as soon as possible, and we’ll be on this holy journey together, toward peace and prosperity, tightly holding hands.”

Meanwhile, the press conference had in attendance Chief of the National Security Office Chung Eui-yong, Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha and Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo from the South. From the North, there were Kim Yo Jong, first vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and Kim Yong Chol, vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

As a new page of history was written in Pyeongyang, cheers erupted in Seoul as journalists from all around the world, gathered at the main press center, reacted to the surprise news about the North Korean leader’s possible visit to Seoul. Here at the press center, every media team immediately sent the news from Pyeongyang out to the world.