South Korea and North Korea may potentially end 60 years of historical tension and military standoff at their summit on April 27, 2018. The two countries signaled their willingness to de-escalate the situation when South Korea released an official statement early last week, on April 18, confirming that their President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would discuss a potential peace treaty. This scheduled summit would be the third inter-Korean conference since the division of the peninsula in 1945.
Pyongyang and Seoul have held a truce since 1953, three years after they originally went to war. In recent events, especially during the Obama Administration and now the recently-elected Trump Administration, tensions have accelerated. North Korea has continuously made world news with their tests of missiles and nuclear arms, and following the inauguration of President Moon, South Korea expressed their increasing willingness to negotiate terms with their northern neighbor.
“We held in-depth discussions on various ways of how to end hostilities and eventually establish a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, how to address the North Korean concerns and how to ensure a bright future for the North if it makes the right choice,” stated Chung Eui-yong, South Korea’s national security adviser.
Should this peace summit on April 27 between the two divided Korean states prove successful, there is a possibility that American President Donald Trump could negotiate peace terms with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in late May or June. This monumental event will be the first meeting between two sitting leaders of the United States and North Korea.
According to various sources, President Moon emphasized that North Korea’s denuclearization is the biggest priority to address and actively seeks to achieve peace between the two Koreas. “The complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the most urgent task that lies before us and a task we must complete peacefully,” Moon publicly stated.
Trump expressed his optimism of the scheduled peace talks between Moon and Un, on Twitter on April 20: “North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site. This is very good news for North Korea and the World – big progress! Look forward to our Summit.”
North Korea has previously demonstrated their interest in denuclearizing if the United States negotiates the terms of security guarantees that includes a peace treaty and the normalization of U.S.-North Korean relations.