Inter-Korea summit opens ‘new era for peace’

North Korea on Saturday said the historic inter-Korea summit at Panmunjom heralded a new era for permanent peace in the peninsula.

On Friday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the South’s President Moon Jae-in agreed to rid the peninsula of nuclear weapons.

Hailing Friday’s summit at the truce village, the official KCNA news agency said the Panmunjom Declaration opens the way for national reconciliation and unity, peace and prosperity.

The joint declaration says the two neighbours have pledged to bring peace regime in the peninsula through complete denuclearisation.

An AFP report said Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the mouthpiece of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, devoted the first four of its six pages to the event, carrying a total of 60 photos, 15 of them on page one.

Analysts in the West have cautiously welcomed the summit outcome since North has broken such pledges in the past after gaining concessions.

They say Kim’s New Year message signalling a thaw in North-South ties was a desperate act after China too stopped clandestine supplies to North, especially oil that the reclusive neighbour needed for nuclear tests.

Pentagon refuses to believe that North Korea will give up its nuclear arsenal which it has painstakingly built over the years to defend the country against US invasion.

However, in the peace move toward Washington, Pyongyang had assured to abandon missile and nuclear tests in exchange for security guarantee from the US.

The summit between Kim and US president Donald Trump next month or early June is, hence, going to be crucial for peace in Korea.

Trump has come a long way after he cynically viewed the first peace moves between North and South from Camp David early this year. He is positive about the upcoming talks with Kim but thinks normalisation of ties between the US and North Korea may happen only after several rounds of discussions.

The US-North Korea talks may collapse if Trump listens to his allies who still view the Kim regime with suspicion. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe’s visit to the US this month was also to persuade Trump not to normalise ties with North unless Pyongyang’s ‘denuclearisation’ is fully verifiable and irreversible.

Despite such pressures, Trump may still explore possibility of striking a deal with North because he wants to show the people of America success on a front where so many US presidents had failed over decades.

In the meantime, Iran warned Kim and Moon to keep Trump out of their reconciliation efforts by reminding them of how the US is trying to kill the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Washington does not respect international agreements and is not to be trusted, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi said on Saturday.