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North and South Korea pledge to end war, denuclearize

The leaders of North and South Korea
Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in shake hands over the military demarcation line. Photo: Pool/Getty Images

The leaders of North and South Korea have pledged to seek a formal end to the Korean War, along with a shared goal of denuclearizing the peninsula,

From the scene: "Smiling and holding hands, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met at the heavily fortified demilitarized zone between the countries on Friday, pledging to pursue peace after decades of conflict," Reuters reports:

  • "Kim became the first North Korean leader since the 1950-53 Korean War to set foot in South Korea after shaking hands with his counterpart over a concrete curb marking the border at the truce village of Panmunjom."
  • Watching live: "South Koreans watched Friday as history unfolded and Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader they normally only see in heavily edited footage, walked across the border and had his every word broadcast live and unfiltered on airwaves across the country." (AP)
  • The big picture, from N.Y. Times: "After a year in which tensions between the two countries reached an acrimonious pitch not seen in decades, the two leaders were careful to publicly signal a new era of rapprochement."

Quick take ... Eurasia Group's Ian Bremmer — author of "Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism," out this week — with his trademark punctuation:

  • "trump snapped the ball .. .and the koreans are running with it."
  • "this is the first major positive geopolitical development all year. it’s hard to see the united states credibility threatening military preemption when peace is breaking out across the peninsula. which is precisely the point."
  • "here’s a 'be careful what you wish for' element to any breakthrough for the americans. after all, if an agreement ultimately means no need for the united states .. .the peninsula tilts away from security and towards economics."
  • "that’s a welcome development for both sides, no question. it’s also one future dominated by the chinese."

Why it matters ... CFR President Richard Haass, author of "A World in Disarray," gave Axios AM readers his quick take on the summit:

  • "I don't know how to say 'charm offensive' in Korean, but that is what we are seeing. What matters, though, in the context of N-S relations is what the North is prepared to do to reduce the conventional military threat it poses to the South."
  • "What matters in the context of [U.S. relations with South Korea] is whether the South hangs tough and does not offer up economic incentives that 1) reward the North for promises rather than actions and 2) ignore U.S. concerns, above all the nuclear and ballistic missile programs."
  • "Still, we are a long ways from not all that long ago, when conflict seemed all too possible and imminent."

Go deeper... It’s not just nukes: What the key players want from North Korea

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