North and South Korea commit to denuclearization, ending Korean War

They were light footsteps that carried a lot of weight, as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in stepped across their respective borders in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the Korean Peninsula. 

It was the first time in 65 years that leaders of the two countries met face-to-face. The men are committed to ending the Korean War within the year. The countries are still technically at war, as no peace treaty was ever signed. 

“I think it's an unambiguously positive thing if you think back to six months ago when the threat of war seemed potentially imminent,” said Mark Bell, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota.  

Bell cautioned the pledge between the two leaders of a “nuclear-free” Korean Peninsula was short on specifics.

“There's no real indication that North Korea has much interest in giving up its nuclear weapons,” Bell said. “There are opportunities for deals, but I suspect they won't involve the full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Bell did say the apparent success of the Korean summit makes an anticipated meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump more likely to happen, but did not spell out a potential outline of a deal.

“I don't think it gives us a great deal of additional information on what the terms of any agreement that would come out of that deal would be,” he said.  “I think there's still a lot of ambiguity and uncertainty about what North Korea may offer and what the United States might be prepared to accept and so on.”

President Trump said Friday the two sides are narrowing down choices for a potential site for the summit, which is set for the coming weeks.