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Kuwait welcomes Korea summit

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Leaders set denuclearization goal

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left), and South Korean President Moon Jae-in talk as they walk on a footbridge at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea on April 27. (AP)

SEOUL/KUWAIT CITY, April 28, (Agencies): The State of Kuwait on Friday welcomed the historic meeting between the leaders of South Korea and North Korea, which culminated in the signing of a peace agreement. An official source at the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry hailed the Korean leaders’ bravery and effort to defuse tension in the Korean Peninsula, and welcomed their agreement to realize a “complete” denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula by the end of this year.

This would serve security and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the entire world, the source said. This landmark agreement, involving significant and exemplary resolutions, would hopefully put an end to conflicts and tensions across the world, the source added.

The leaders pledged at the historic summit to work for “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula, but US President Donald Trump said he would maintain pressure on Pyongyang through sanctions ahead of his own unprecedented meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

The meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in produced a day of dramatic images and a sweeping declaration of goodwill. But it was short on specific commitments and failed to clear up the question of whether Pyongyang is really willing to give up nuclear missiles that now threaten the United States.

Meeting at the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone that has divided the Koreas for more than six decades, Kim and Moon announced they would work with the United States and China this year to declare an official end to the 1950s Korean War, and establish a permanent peace agreement.

In an event marked by smiles, handshakes and embraces, they also promised to pursue phased arms reduction, cease hostile acts, transform their fortified border into a peace zone and seek talks involving other countries, including the United States.

“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 two sides said. But even as they agreed on a common goal of a “nuclear-free” peninsula, they stopped short of spelling out exactly what that meant or how it might come about.

Speaking at a news conference in Washington with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump, who has raised expectations that his own planned meeting with Kim in coming weeks will deliver tangible results, expressed hope it would be productive. But he added: “We will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations. Maximum pressure will continue until denuclearization occurs.” Trump has said Kim must completely abandon his nuclear missile program and has credited his campaign of sanctions and military threats with bringing Kim to the negotiating table. Earlier he told reporters would not allow himself to be “played like a fiddle” by North Korea like past US administrations.

Many analysts say that while sanctions may be hurting North Korea, Kim may believe he has the upper hand and is unlikely to give up his full nuclear capability, considering it vital to the survival of his family dynasty.

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