Inter-Korean Panmunjom Declaration

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Inter-Korean Panmunjom Declaration

by Stephen Lendman ( Home – Stephen Lendman)

North and South Korean leaders Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in took an important step toward formally ending the Korean War and normalizing bilateral relations.

It’s a long way from achieving durable peace and stability on the peninsula, but an important step in the right direction.

Neither country wants war or hostile relations – Washington the key impediment to regional peace. 

Its endless aggression and rage for dominance threaten all sovereign independent nations – North Korea a US enemy throughout the post-WW II period.

Kim and Moon signed a landmark Panmunjom Declaration. Its principles are as follows:

  • reconnecting inter-Korean relations;
  • fully implementing all bilaterally adopted agreements and declarations;
  • holding regular dialogue and negotiations on vital issues affecting both countries;
  • establishing a joint liaison office to facilitate bilateral consultations;
  • encouraging active cooperation, exchanges, visits and contact between officials at all levels of both countries;
  • resolving humanitarian issues between both sides, including discussion on the reunion of separated families;
  • implementing earlier agreed on joint projects, aiming for balanced inter-Korean economic growth;
  • alleviating longstanding bilateral military tension to curb the threat of war on the peninsula;
  • ceasing hostile actions by both sides against each other, including transformation of the DMZ into a peace zone;
  • transforming the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea into a maritime peace zone – to prevent accidental military clashes and facilitate safe fishing;
  • increasing cooperation, exchanges, visits and other contacts between military officials of both countries;
  • establishing a permanent peninsula peace regime, ending an uneasy armistice, and formally ending the Korean War;
  • concluding a Non-Aggression Agreement between both sides;
  • beginning a process of phased disarmament – providing tensions between both countries ease, along with achieving military confidence-building progress;
  • pursuing trilateral talks involving both Koreas and Washington, as well as quadrilateral meetings including these countries and China with the goal of establishing a durable peace regime on the peninsula;
  • affirming the principle of determining the destiny of each Korean nation on their own;
  • achieving a nuclear-free peninsula (no plan proposed for moving in this direction).

Kim and Moon agreed to hold regular meetings and phone conversations on issues vital to both nations.

Moon agreed to visit Pyongyang this fall, Kim likely to visit Seoul. Both leaders intend signing a peace treaty on a date and location to be determined.

Denuclearization is only possible with Chinese and perhaps Russian guarantees for DPRK security.

During the summit with Moon, Kim made no public statements on abandoning his nation’s nuclear program, its most important deterrent against feared US aggression.

It’s a shield for defense, not a sword for offense, perhaps to be suspended with security guarantees from China and perhaps Russia, not likely to be abandoned altogether, leaving the nation vulnerable to US aggression, a longterm threat.

What’s ahead following the Kim/Moon summit depends on Trump and hawkish neocons infesting Washington.

At NATO headquarters in Brussels on Friday, Secretary of State Pompeo warned maximum (US) pressure will continue to be exerted on North Korea.

At the same time, he g(ot) a sense that (Kim Jong-un is) serious about denuclearization from their talks in Pyongyang, adding:

There is a lot of history here where promises have been made, hopes have been raised and then dashed, failing to explain the fault lay in Washington, not Pyongyang.

During his Friday meeting with Angela Merkel at the White House, Trump said “(w)e will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations – not an encouraging remark ahead of a late May or June summit with Kim, if it happens.

Pompeo said if nothing positive comes out of a summit (meaning Kim’s unwillingness to bend to Washington’s will), Trump will walk away, and the pressure will remain, but in the event we reach a resolution, it would be a wonderful thing for the world.

The Kim/Moon summit and Panmunjom Declaration were important steps toward hoped for  reconciliation and peace on the peninsula – but a long way from achieving these goals.

Earlier hopes were dashed. Washington undermined detente. What’s ahead could be the same thing all over again. 

Belligerent US history suggests it, why it’s inconceivable that Pyongyang would agree to anything more than suspending its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, not abandoning them.

They’re the DPRK’s most important deterrents against feared US aggression – leaving the nation vulnerable without them.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.