Peace across the border: North and South Korea Leaders establish formal peace treaty


Pool Photo.

April 27, 2018 marked the end of the Korean War, as North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, and South Korean leader, Moon Jae-in, agreed on a peace treaty between their two countries. The treaty is aimed to end the threat of use of nuclear weapons in Korea, and establish a peaceful relationship across the Korean peninsula. The New York Times reported Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon’s shared statement, “South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.” This meeting marked the formal conclusion of the Korean War. 

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Conflict between the two countries can be traced back to the Korean War, between 1950 and 1953. Communist North Korea and capitalist South Korea divided in 1948 due to regional disagreement about the way Korea should be lead. Supported by the United States, South Korea declared itself a separated republic. The separate countries then disputed over faced  the rightful leadership of Korea. North Korea sent troops into South Korea as an act of forceful persuasion. This invasion caught the attention of the economic allies of both countries. Through the Korean War, the United States continued to support South Korea, while North Korea gained the backing of China. The war led to millions of casualties, as well as devastation of North Korea from bombing by the United States.

In 1953, the fighting ceased, but a formal peace treaty was not agreed upon. Until 2018, the two countries remained in a tense, uneasy relationship.

On April 27th, Mr. Moon and Mr. Kim shook hands at the border, before each took a step onto the land of the other’s country, marking the first time a North Korean leader set foot on South Korean land. Together, the leaders unveiled a tree that had been planted in soil from both the North and the South, and watered with water from both sides. The New York Times reported that a plaque accompanied the tree, sending a message of “peace and prosperity.”

Photo by Reuters World News

Following the heavily covered interaction at the border, the two leaders met at the Peace House, located on South Korea side of the border between the two countries. The meeting was extensively covered by journalists, documenting a new page in international relationships. The meeting between the two men marks the beginning of a historical treaty between North and South Korea.