North Korean state media on Saturday reaffirmed the country’s goal of seeking the full denuclearization of the peninsula, in a notable reprint of Friday’s summit declaration between DPRK leader Kim Jong Un and ROK President Moon Jae-in.
The release saw the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) publish the text of Friday’s “Panmunjom Declaration for the Peace, Prosperity, and Unification of the Korean Peninsula” in full.
Friday’s agreement between the leaders of the two Koreas saw Pyongyang and Seoul commit to “the common goal” of a nuclear-free peninsula through “complete denuclearization.”
It also stated that recent steps by Pyongyang – a likely reference to its commitment to end nuclear and missile testing – “are very meaningful and crucial for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
That these comments were included in North Korean state media is notable: DPRK state media has yet to reprint previously reported commitments from Kim Jong Un to denuclearize.
Saturday’s edition of North Korea’s largest newspaper the Rodong Sinmun, too, published the statement – and devoted several pages of coverage to events at Friday’s summit.
North Korea has, however, made commitments to the denuclearization of the peninsula in the past, with Pyongyang having made similar commitments in 2007 and 2010 and the country having previously been a member of the non-proliferation treaty (NPT).
Analysis by NK News earlier in the month suggested that North Korean media typically avoided discussing ongoing nuclear negotiations, instead focused on hailing the program as a “treasured sword” essential for the country’s security.
But Saturday’s republishing of the summit declaration is DPRK media’s most explicit reference to a willingness to denuclearize since the country’s withdrawal from the Six-Party Talks in 2009.
A report that year in the Rodong Sinmun made reference to previous agreements, like “the February 13 agreement for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
Mentions of “denuclearization” this year, however, have largely appeared in editorials condemning U.S. policy towards the North.
Yesterday’s inter-Korean summit also committed the two Koreas to seek to pursue a peace treaty and end the armistice agreement – potentially bringing an end to some 70 years of conflict on the peninsula.
It also saw Pyongyang and Seoul agree to a number of new inter-Korean initiatives, including, among other things, the holding a reunion of families separated by the Korean War on August 15 and the setting up of a DPRK-ROK liason office in Kaesong.
Featured image: KCNA