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Korean Leaders Commit To 'Complete Denuclearization' At Historic Summit


Korean Leaders Embrace At Historic Summit
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WATCH: Korean Leaders Embrace At Historic Summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in say they are committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula after a historic summit on April 27.

Kim became the first North Korean leader to set foot on South Korean territory since the end of the Korean War in 1953, after he crossed the heavily fortified demarcation line at 9:30 a.m. local time.

"South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula," they said in a joint statement.

However, the statement did not provide any new specific measures North Korea would take toward denuclearization.

The summit -- the third after meetings in 2000 and 2007 -- precedes a meeting between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump, expected to take place next month or early June.

The two Korean leaders also said they will jointly push for talks with the United States and also potentially China to put an official end to the Korean War.

The conflict was stopped after an armistice was reached in 1953, but the two Korean states are still technically at war.

"As I stand here today I can see that South and North Korea are the same people, the same blood -- they cannot be separated," Kim said in his address during the summit.

In response to the statement, Trump tweeted, "KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!"

In a separate tweet sent minutes earlier, Trump said that "good things are happening, but only time will tell."

Moon has also agreed to visit Pyongyang sometime later this year, and also agreed to open a permanent communication office in the North Korean town of Kaesong and the resumption of temporary reunions between relatives separated by the war.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg also welcomed the summit as "encouraging," but urged caution.

"This is a first step, it is encouraging, but we have to realize there is still a lot of hard work that lies ahead of us," Stoltenberg said at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

Stoltenberg comment echoed the warning he issued the previous day, when he said the international community must maintain sanctions on North Korea until "concrete changes" in its actions were visible.

"Until we see a concrete change in North Korea's actions we must continue to put pressure on North Korea and continue with the sanctions," Stoltenberg said on April 26.

Tensions in the region escalated last year after North Korea test-launched several ballistic missiles and performed a nuclear test, while Kim and Trump traded threats and insults.

But at the beginning of this year Kim launched an unexpected program of diplomatic outreach, which included the North's attendance of the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

The North Korean delegation also includes Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, who in February attended the Pyeongchang Olympics opening ceremony.

The two leaders will plant a pine tree dating from 1953 when the Korean War armistice was signed, before an agreement is signed and announced.

Kim and Moon will later attend a banquet, to be followed by a farewell ceremony.

With reporting by dpa, BBC, AP, and Reuters
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