South Korean president says Kim Jong Un will take steps toward denuclearization, allow inspectors

South Korean president says Kim Jong Un will take steps toward denuclearization, allow inspectors
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (left) shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday during a joint news conference at Paekhwawon State Guesthouse in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim and Moon met to discuss ways to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. (Pyeongyang Press Corps/Pool/Getty Images)

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has agreed to allow international inspectors to enter his country and see proof of the destruction of a major nuclear testing and launch site, according to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the Washington Post reported.

What did Kim say at the summit?

Moon and Kim have just wrapped up a joint summit in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

According to Moon, Kim had said that he would “permanently dismantle” the Tongchang-ri missile testing and launch site “in the presence of experts from relevant nations,” the Post said.

While it is unclear which nations Kim views as “relevant,” allowing any international inspectors to view the process would be a change for his regime.

Kim also “expressed the will to continue taking further steps like permanent dismantlement” of the Yongbyon nuclear facility, provided that the United States took “corresponding steps.” This could be a reference to Kim’s insistence that Trump promised he would declare the Korean War to be officially over. While the bulk of the fighting ended in 1953, the Korean War is still technically ongoing.

Despite these promises from Kim, no definitive timeline was set up for when denuclearization would either start or finish.

What did Trump say?

On Twitter, President Donald Trump called these developments “very exciting.”

Trump also quoted Fox News in another tweet which claimed that North Korea had agreed to denuclearize and “we’ve come a long way.”

Didn’t Kim already promise to denuclearize?

At their June 12 summit, Trump and Kim signed a declaration that stated, “President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Kim has also reportedly said he wants to denuclearize by the end of Trump’s first term in office. However, both U.S. intelligence and a United Nations report have indicated that while Kim has made a show of destroying some nuclear sites, he is still actively developing and improving others.

If Kim did go back on his promise to denuclearize, it would be the seventh time someone in his family had made such a promise to the U.S. and then ignored it. The other six times happened in 1985, 1992, 1994, 2005, 2007, and 2012.

What else?

While details of denuclearization may have been scarce at this summit, the leaders of North and South Korea did agree to end artillery drills near their borders, to create a buffer zone in the Yellow Sea, to set up a no-fly zone near their mutual border, and to each get rid of 11 border guard posts by the end of this year.

These talks were meant to be a precursor to a second summit for Kim and Trump. So far no date has been set for that summit, but it is supposed to take place before the end of 2018. Moon also invited Kim to the South Korean capital of Seoul for a second round of talks between the two Korean leaders.