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"Planting Peace and Prosperity" - the Koreas Meet in a Historic Summit

North Korean President Kim Jong-un crossed the demilitarized zone (DMZ) earlier today and entered South Korea for a summit with President Moon Jae-in. Kim became the first North Korean leader to set foot in South Korea since the Korean War, 1950-53.

With a jovial step across the demarcation line separating the two Koreas to meet Moon, Kim joined his counterpart of the South in ushering a new era of pledged peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula. 

When Kim entered the South where he was welcomed by Moon, moments later, he cheerfully held Moon's hand and escorted him onto the North side of the demarcation line before the two returned to the South for their historical summit.

Kim and Moon signed the "Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula" and agreed to work to rid the peninsula of nuclear weapons. "The two leaders declare before our people of 80 million and the entire world there will be no more war on the Korean peninsula and a new age of peace has begun," the declaration said.

Furthermore, the two leaders agreed to turn the armistice that ended the Korean war in 1953 into a peace treaty by the end of this year. No peace treaty was signed at the conclusion of the Korean war, thus, technically, today, North and South remain in state of hostility. Kim said he and Moon agreed to work to prevent a repeat of the peninsula's "unfortunate history" in which progress had "fizzled out." Moon concurred he and Kim had "fired a flare at the starting point" of "a new history vis-a-vis peace, prosperity and North-South relations." 

The historic meeting today between the two Koreas was a culmination of a surprising good and mutual relationship the nations struck at this year's Winter Olympics in South Korea. After an invitation from the South, both North and South paraded an a sole nation under a lone flag at the games. They also competed together as one team in ice-hockey.

Today's pledge for peace and prosperity between the nations also called for an end to "hostile activities"; changing the DMZ into a "peace zone" by ending propaganda broadcasts; an arms reduction on the peninsula pending easing of military tension; a push for four-way talks involving the United States (US) and China; organizing a reunion of families left divided by the Korean war; connecting and modernizing railways and roads across the border; and for further joint participation in sporting events including this year's Asian games, the BBC-News reported.

So history duly records that on this April 27, 2018, after 65-years of deep rifts and recent military threats of nuclear war, North and South Korea have come together to pledge peace, prosperity and denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. And as symbolic as the planting of a pine tree with water and soil from both sides, North Korea and South Korea appear united.