[Reading level: C1 – Advanced]
Ilsan, South Korea (CNN) – The leaders of North and South Korea have committed themselves to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and pledged to bring a formal end to the Korean War, 65 years after hostilities ceased.
In a remarkable day-long summit that weighed heavy with symbolism, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Un embraced, planted a tree and talked alone for more than 30 minutes.
Then they signed the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity, and Unification on the Korean Peninsula, which commits the two countries to denuclearization and talks to bring a formal end to conflict. It was a startling conclusion to the first meeting between leaders of the two countries in 10 years.
In separate speeches, Kim and Moon promised a new era. Addressing the world’s media live on television for the first time, Kim said the Koreas “will be reunited as one country.” Moon said: “There will not be any more war on the Korean peninsula.”
But behind all the ceremony, at the Panmunjom “peace village” in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea, there were few concrete details. The Panmunjom Declaration largely steered clear of specifics regarding Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities, and did not set out what North Korea would expect to get in exchange for denuclearization.
The pledge to end the Korean war faces major hurdles – any final peace deal must also involve China and the US, both of whom were participants in the original conflict that began in 1950 when the North Korean People’s Army invaded the South. Although an armistice was signed in 1953, no formal peace treaty was ever concluded, and technically, the peninsula remains at war.
US President Donald Trump and most of the US was asleep as the day’s events unfolded, but when Washington woke, Trump, who is due to meet Kim later in the coming months, hailed the summit.
He tweeted: “After a furious year of missile launches and nuclear testing, a historic meeting between North and South Korea,” he said. “Good things are happening, but only time will tell!” In another tweet, he exclaimed: “KOEAN WAR TO END!”
Historic day – Ngày lịch sử
South Korea had choreographed the meeting of the two leaders down to the second, but it was Kim who delivered the most dramatic moment.
After he crossed the military demarcation line separating North and South Korea to shake hands with Moon, Kim invited him to step into the North. Moon hesitated for the briefest of seconds, before walking into North Korean territory.
The image was greeted by gasps, cheers and applause from people watching it on a large screen in central Seoul, and at a conference center in nearby Ilsan, where the South Korean government had set up a sprawling media center for the thousands of journalists invited to watch history being made.
It was also perhaps the only spontaneous moment in what was a carefully scripted affair, which those on the South Korean side had been practicing and rehearsing for weeks.
“President Moon briefly crossed over the MDL to the North,” the Blue House said in a statement, referring to the military demarcation line. “This was not a planned event.”
The rest of the day went entirely to plan, however. The two leaders appeared acutely aware of the spotlight upon them: Moon maintained an air of calm statesmanship; Kim occasionally appeared to revel in the attention of the world’s media. Writing in a visitor’s book on entering the Peace House, where discussions took place, Kim wrote “a new history begins now” and “an age of peace, at the starting point of history.”
After a morning of meetings with officials, Kim and Moon took part in a symbolic tree-planting ceremony in the DMZ. The tree was from 1953, the year the Korean War armistice was signed. Kim used soil from a mountain on the southern island of Jeju while Moon used earth from Mount Paektu in the north.
Then, the two leaders left their officials behind and struck out side by side through the DMZ to a footbridge that was recently repainted the same blue used on the Korean Unification Flag. Unexpectedly, they talked for 30 minutes, without anyone taking notes and with cameras at a distance. The contents of the conversation have not been disclosed.
The substantive moment of the summit came when Kim and Moon pair signed the agreement that pledged to end the decades of conflict between their two nations, and set them on a path towards denuclearization.
Pitfalls ahead – Những cạm bẫy phía trước
While Friday was all smiles and handshakes, there are plenty of potential pitfalls ahead. Under the Panmunjom Declaration, named after the village in the DMZ where the two leaders met, the two parties “confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.”
What all sides mean by denuclearization has long been a sticking point, especially between North Korea and the US.
“Going into the US-North Korea summit, the key question remains whether North Korea would truly give up its nuclear weapons program,” Stratfor Asia Pacific analyst Evan Rees said in a statement.
“The phrasing of the Panmunjom Declaration refers to denuclearization of the peninsula, which could mean the movement of US strategic assets, and a phased, rather than a rapid denuclearization — which goes against what the US has called for.”
Earlier in the day, Kim Jong Un said he hoped disagreements would not derail the implementation of the declaration, as has happened with past agreements, hinting he may be aware that a deal is far from being sealed.
China welcomed the outcome of the summit. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang congratulated both sides and said: We hope all relevant parties keep the momentum of dialogue, work together to promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula as well as the process of a political settlement on the peninsula issue.” He said China was willing to “keep playing a positive role to this end.”
The White House also welcomed the conclusion of the summit. “We are hopeful that talks will achieve progress toward a future of peace and prosperity for the entire Korean Peninsula,” a statement said.
denuclearization (n): phi hạt nhân hóa
peninsula (n): bán đảo
pledge to do sth (v): cam kết làm gì
formal [C1] (adj): chính thức
hostility [C2] (n): sự thù địch
cease [B2] (n): sự chấm dứt
summit (n): hội nghị thượng đỉnh
symbolism (n): tính biểu tượng
counterpart [C1] (n): người đồng cấp
embrace (v): ôm
declaration [C1] (n): tuyên bố
prosperity (n): sự thịnh vượng
unification (n): sự thống nhất
startling (adj): đáng ngạc nhiên
reunite (v): đoàn tụ
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) (n): Khu phi quân sự
concrete [C1] (adj): cụ thể, chắc chắn
specific (n): chi tiết
set out to do sth (v): bắt đầu làm gì
major hurdle (n): trở ngại lớn
invade (v): xâm lược
treaty (n): hiệp định
unfold [C1] (v): diễn ra
furious (adj): điên rồ
choreograph (v): lên kịch bản
down to the second (expression): đến những giây cuối cùng
military demarcation line (n): đường ranh giới quân sự
hesitate [B2] (v): lưỡng lự
for the briefest of seconds (expression): trong vài giây
territory (n): lãnh thổ
applause (n/v): vỗ tay
sprawling (adj): rộng lớn
spontaneous (adj): tự phát
rehearse (v): tổng duyệt
acute (adj): sâu sắc
spotlight (n): ánh đèn sân khấu
an air of calm (n): một bầu không khí bình lặng
revel (n): vui vẻ
armistice (n): hiệp định đình chiến
disclose [C2] (v): tiết lộ
substantive (adj): quan trọng
pitfalls (n): cạm bẫy
a sticking point (n): điểm mấu chốt, vấn đề gây căng thẳng
truly [B2] (adv): thực sự
phrasing (n): ý nghĩa, cách hiểu
derail (v): cản trở, làm hỏng
implementation [B2] (n) việc thực hiện
hint (v): gợi ý
sealed (adj): đảm bảo
be willing to do sth (adj) sẵn lòng làm gì
play a role (phrase): đóng vai trò