South Korea launched a presidential commission Thursday to implement the outcome of a historic summit held between its president, Moon Jae-in, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that calls for a wide range of measures aimed at denuclearizing the North and formally ending the Korean War.
The new commission is formed around an earlier organization established to help prepare for the historic summit held last week at the border village of Panmunjom.
The implementation commission will again be headed by Moon's chief of staff Im Jong-seok but will include a number of new members from the government, an official from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.
"It will have new members from various government ministries, which will eventually be tasked with implementing what was agreed to at the summit," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
|Presidential Chief of Staff Im Jong-seok (second from L) speaks in the inaugural meeting of a new presidential commission on the implementation of the outcome of the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit held at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on May 3, 2018. (Yonhap)|
Hosting the inaugural meeting of the new commission, Im insisted the summit may have shown the possibility of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, probably for the first time.
"I believe there is a very important change in that the summit, unlike in the past, made us believe things may be different this time," he said, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.
The Moon-Kim meeting was the third inter-Korean summit but the first to be held in South Korea and the first to be broadcast live.
"Such a change may have been seen in the declaration as well, but I think the people may have shared that feeling as it was delivered through live broadcasts. I feel relieved that the feeling it could really happen this time has been delivered," Im told the meeting.
The second-highest ranking official at Cheong Wa Dae noted the commission, if not the country, had long way to go, stressing the importance of the upcoming summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader.
"This is only the start, with the North-U.S. summit just around the corner," he said.
"I think we may be able to stretch our legs and then move on to the next phase should we successfully wrap up the North-U.S. summit by preparing for the summit without letting our guard down."
In the so-called Panmunjom Declaration, Moon and Kim agreed to a number of steps designed to help reduce tensions between the divided Koreas, including an immediate halt to all hostile acts against each other.
Some of the measures have already gotten under way, with the countries removing their propaganda loudspeakers from the inter-Korean border.
President Moon earlier urged swift implementation of steps that can be taken right away, noting that some may have to be delayed due to international sanctions placed on the communist North.
The first job of the implementation commission will be to identify steps that can be moved forward and those that need to wait, he has said.
South and North Korea technically remain at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice.
The leaders of the divided Koreas have also agreed to seek a formal end to the war by signing a peace treaty, which they noted may require the participation of the United States and China.
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