WASHINGTON — A meeting of historical proportions took place last week along the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.
- North Korea willing to give up nuclear weapons if US promises not to invade
- Historic meeting between North and South Korean Leaders
- Both nations still technically in a state of war to this day
The promise of no war and no nuclear weapons seems like a massive achievement, but when do words turn into action, and what role will the U.S. play?
Last Friday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told South Korea's president that he would shut down the country's nuclear test site and give up his nuclear programs if the United State commits to a formal end to the Korean War and pledges not to attack the North.
Both nations have technically been in a state of war since 1953, even though fighting ended.
That the two Koreas have reached this point is historic, but Balbina Hwang, a former senior State Department advisor during the Obama Administration, says this is the easy part.
“The really historic meaning is the fact that this is the first time that North Korea has actually allowed South Korea to take the lead,” Hwang said.
Hwang says while the United States has a major stake in the outcome, the North and South appear to be moving at their own pace, and diplomacy is critical.
“There cannot be any kind of military confrontation on the Korean Peninsula," Hwang said. "This is the reason why even President Trump wants to sit down Kim Jong Un. “
President Trump is preparing for his own meeting with Kim Jong Un. Members of Congress are split as to how much credit Trump should get for the talks.
“The North Koreans were talking already before they even visited South Korea about putting down their nuclear arms," said Rep. Dan Donovan, R-New York. "And that’s all because of the president’s advocacy and the president’s influence.”
“I don’t think an adequate diplomatic framework has been set, and I’m concerned about the same kind of impulsive conduct that got us into this high-level meeting before we’d done any groundwork for it diplomatically,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas.
There is also some question as to whether North Korea's nuclear test site could even take any more testing. Experts say six underground nuclear explosions conducted in the past may have made the site too unstable for more testing.
There is also some question as to what North Korea will want in return for giving up its nuclear program and its missile testing.
“I think we’re just going to have to wait and see what happens,” Hwang said.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.