North, South Korea Agree to Formally End Korean War. What Happened?

By Faye Higbee

North and South Korea agreed to formally end the Korean War yesterday, sixty-five years after the conflict. They have also agreed to reunification,  and denuclearization of the peninsula, without any specifics on how they will accomplish it. Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in even met face to face alone for 30  minutes.

For months last year, Kim and President Trump bashed and threatened each other. When 2018 rolled around Kim’s rhetoric suddenly changed to a conciliatory tone. South Korea’s leader allowed North Korea to participate in the Olympics, and Kim’s sister enjoyed a rockstar status with the media during the events.

Kim wanted to meet with Trump in person. Trump accepted. Then he sent Mike Pompeo, the new Secretary of State to meet with him first. The rhetoric got even softer. Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s President has been a proponent of reunification since before he became their President.

The meeting that took place was only a one day summit. They planted a tree, the symbolism of unity. Then they each signed an agreement (without specifics) they are calling the Panmunjom Declaration.

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At times, Kim looked like he was about to throw up, but he quickly recovered to smile and shake hands with his South Korean counterpart. Kim was the first leader to set foot in the South since 1953. And Moon was the first to step into the North.

“President Moon briefly crossed over the MDL to the North. This was not a planned event.” SK Presidential Blue House statement

All parties are well aware that the whole thing rests on the details, and how to accomplish the final agreement. China and the United States both must be involved, as they were all involved in the war. The sticking points that have come up for the last 65 years are likely to come up again, but these are historic times, with historic consequences. Military Times stated that the agreements are not likely to affect the presence of US troops, at least at this time.