North Korea has agreed to "permanently" abolish its key missile facilities in the presence of foreign experts, says South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
The North Korean offers were made in a joint statement signed by Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday morning, on the second day of their three-day summit in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
The two leaders emerged from a two-day summit in Pyongyang to sign declarations in front of the world's TV cameras.
"Moon and Kim nailed the atmospherics of a 'one Korean people, ' but the South Korean public writ large will keep a cautious eye on specific deliverables because they've seen this movie so many times before and ended up disappointed", Duyeon Kim said.
Kim agreed to demolish its missile facilities if U.S. takes reciprocal action. South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo and North Korea's No Kwang-chol also agreed to stop military flights in the vicinity of the demarcation line. Kim called the agreement "a leap forward" toward peace between the two historically bitter rivals.
The question now is whether that's enough for Trump to agree to a peace declaration that Kim has pushed for before taking concrete steps toward getting rid of his nuclear capability.
South Korean analysts warned that much was at stake in Moon's efforts to mediate a breakthrough in the stalled dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang.
During Tuesday's two-hour closed-door meeting with Moon, the golden sister sat to the left of Kim Jong Un, proving her position as an influential figure in the Worker's Party of Korea.
Mr Kim had conveyed the North's intent to dismantle certain facilities there, including a static test stand for liquid propellant engines for rockets, at the June summit with US President Donald Trump.
Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to suspend army training exercises near the inter-Korean border and "withdraw all guard posts" in the demilitarized zone (DMZ), in a broad military agreement signed on Wednesday.
Speaking to the press on the outcome of Moon's visit to North Korea, Kim noted that the "agreement at Pyongyang summit will advance an era of peace, prosperity". If he failed to coax Trump and Kim to hold a second summit meeting, they said, the Korean Peninsula might revert to the roiling tensions that put the region on the brink of war a year ago.
Some South Korean firms had been accused of importing coal from the North disguised as Russian shipments in violation of United Nations sanctions, which critics say raises questions about Seoul's will to vigorously enforce global sanctions.
According to aides to Mr Moon, Mr Trump has asked the South Korean President to be "chief negotiator" between himself and Mr Kim, after the US President cancelled a trip to Pyongyang by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month citing lack of progress in nuclear talks.
"Through this agreement, the South and the North can practically resume a preliminary level of operational arms control", he said.
Though North Korea has unilaterally stopped nuclear and missile tests, it did not allow global inspections for a dismantlement of its only known nuclear test site in May, drawing criticism that its action was for show and could be easily reversed. "By creating the Korean Peninsula as a permanent space for peace, we will be able to return the normality of our lives". Normalize the Kaesong Industrial complex and Kumgang tourism project as soon as the conditions allow.