- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he wants to follow through on any agreements his country makes during new diplomatic conversations with its neighbors and the US.
- The comment came during the first meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at Friday’s summit between the two countries.
- North Korea’s inability to honor its word has long been a stumbling block to any meaningful progress toward peace or denuclearization.
Kim Jong Un told South Korean President Moon Jae-in that he doesn’t want to repeat history.
In an initial meeting open to the press during Friday’s inter-Korean summit, Kim said he didn’t want a repeat of the past “where we were unable to fulfill our agreements.”
“I don’t want to see the previous history that we’ve seen at past summits repeat itself, going back to square one without any results. Instead, hopefully, both sides will look forward to the future, holding hand-in-hand and marching together toward the future,” Kim said.
In 1994, the US made an attempt to normalize relations with North Korea in which Pyongyang agreed to freeze its nuclear programme, but the agreement broke down. Closer to home, North Korea has regularly failed to follow through on deals.
Many experts consider North Korea’s inability to keep its word one of the biggest stumbling blocks to achieve any sort of peace treaty or denuclearization.
According to one translation, the North Korean leader said he also wants to “talk openly” during the day’s multiple sessions “so that the lost decade is not gone to waste.”
The last inter-Korean summit took place in 2007.
The two leaders are meeting on the South Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the first meeting between the two heads of state and the first time any leader of North Korea has entered South Korea.
About the moment, Kim said he had “so many mixed feelings” as he crossed the demarcation line, which marks the border of the two countries, with Moon.
Once he had arrived at South Korea’s Peace House, Kim wrote in the guest book that a “new history begins now.”