North Korean leader Kim Jung Un would agree to dismantle the nuclear arsenal of his nation in exchange for an end to the war and strong diplomatic ties with South Korea. As long as both countries give up all nuclear ambitions, the demilitarized zone could also be eliminated and the heavily fortified checkpoints would be replaced by a customs and immigration operation.
For his part, South Korean President Moon Jae-in seems ready to accept the proposal for a peace treaty, although consultation with the United States is still forthcoming. The leaders met on Friday morning amidst a symbolic backdrop of peaceful relations; soldiers from both countries were ordered to relax their stance a bit as a pine tree was planted to memorialize the event. Both presidents then walked side-by-side while crossing the borders in and out of their respective countries before sitting down to talk in private at an outdoors table.
The next steps towards putting an end to the war will take place after multilateral talks are conducted among the two countries and major stakeholders such as China and the United States. Observers and analysts from Asia, Africa, the European Union and the Americas may also be invited to attend future conferences and provide input. Before these advanced peace talks take place, the leaders have agreed to create goodwill by means of cultural exchanges, sporting events and cross-border family reunions.
The first round of family reunions are scheduled for August to commemorate the independence of the Korean peninsula from Japan; this event, which happened after the end of World War II, kept the two nations unified for just a few years before the Cold War triggered a separatist conflict involving China’s Red Army and the United States Armed Forces.
Some military analysts believe that conditions are favorable towards a major withdrawal of American forces from South Korea this year, particularly at a time when President Trump is considering increasing U.S. military presence in Syria at the urging of French President Emanuel Macron.
The international community has welcomed the progress made between the leaders of North and South Korea; however, previous attempts at formulating a peaceful solution in the region have been derailed by the nuclear weapons program pursued by Kim Jong Un. President Trump has not helped to ease tensions with provocative taunts posted on Twitter, but he has not intervened in a foolish manner over the last few days.