By Hannah Stumpf | Echo
The leaders of North and South Korea, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, held a historic meeting on April 27 to negotiate the removal of all nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula.
The leaders have also pledged to work in conjunction with the United States to declare an official end to the Korean War, which has technically been an ongoing conflict since 1950.
The meeting was held at the border village of Panmunjom. The two leaders began by shaking hands at the border between the two countries. Then, they engaged in a 30-minute talk in the village.
"I came here to put an end to the history of confrontation," Kim said.
Some theorize Kim's drastic change in policy stems from recent sanctions enforced by the United States and China.
Incentives offered by Moon include a focus on developing North Korea's infrastructure, a possible withdrawal of troops from inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and a shared fishing zone around the western sea border.
An armistice brought a cease-fire to the Korean War in 1953, but the conflict did not officially end because the North and South could not agree to a formal peace treaty.
"I pray that God provides the leaders of (the) two Koreas and the U.S. with wisdom and spiritual insight so that they handle . . . this complicated situation . . . for the people in North Korea who (have) been suffering in poverty and oppression," Department Chair of Modern Language and Professor of Spanish A. Chin Chang said.
Kim and Moon stated they would push for a trilateral conference with the United States, or a four-party forum that also included China, within the year. The goal of these potential meetings would be to replace the armistice with a peace treaty, thereby officially ending war, more than six decades after the armistice.
The two leaders also hope to improve inter-Korean relations by opening a liaison office in the border village of Kaesong, North Korea. Moon is projected to visit Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, in the fall.
"Personally, I would like to warn against undue excitement and optimism," Chang said. "Based on our experience and history, I believe that we have still a long and bumpy way to go to a complete denuclearization and peace."