Kim Jong Un praises ‘landmark’ accord with S. Korea, talks unity & trust

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un © KCNA
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made a surprise statement saying the recent agreement between the two Koreas marks a “landmark occasion” and paves the way for “reconciliation” and “trust” for the divided nation.

The North and South Koreas agreed to end their military standoff on Tuesday, after an exchange of artillery fire had raised tensions along the border to a critical level. The two countries will also be opening up new channels of communication in order to improve ties that have been cut off since 2010.

“The joint press release published at the contact provided a crucial landmark occasion of defusing the acute military tension and putting the catastrophic inter-Korean relations on the track of reconciliation and trust,” the North’s KCNA news agency quoted Kim as saying at a meeting with military aides.

According to Kim, however, the accord was made possible due to the strength of the North’s armed forces. More specifically, “thanks to the tremendous military muscle, with the nuclear deterrent for self-defense, built by the great party as a pivot, and matchless ranks single-mindedly united around the party.”

The North Korean leader made the comments during a meeting of the Central Military Commission of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.

Envoys for the two Koreas’ began talks on the border crisis on Saturday. The negotiations were held in the border village of Panmunjom, the place where the 1950-53 Korean War ceasefire agreement was signed.

READ MORE: S. & N. Korea trade warmongering accusations following exchange of fire

The latest conflict was triggered two weeks ago by a landmine explosion in the demilitarized zone that left two South Korean soldiers injured. Seoul blamed North Korea and demanded an apology by resuming anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts.

In response, Pyongyang shelled the loudspeakers. After an exchange of fire, the North threatened “imminent” military action, stating that it would turn South Korea into a “sea of fire” unless activists stop launching propaganda leaflets across the border.

North Korea also issued nuclear threats to the US saying it would respond accordingly if Washington didn’t halt its military exercises with South Korea. Pyongyang added it was ready to use its latest weapons, which are “unknown to the world.”

The US itself got involved in the rivalry between the two Koreas, adding tension to the conflict.

On Monday, America said it was reviewing the possibility of deploying ‘strategic’ military assets in South Korea to add to the pressure on Pyongyang. “South Korea and the US are flexibly reviewing the timing of the deployment of US strategic assets with close tabs kept on the crisis situation on the Korean Peninsula,” said South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok, as quoted by local Yonhap news agency.

Last week, eight combat jets simulated a strike on enemy targets as a show of force for North Korea. A total of four F-16 fighter jets from US forces in Korea and four South Korean F-15k fighters joined together “to show off the military might of South Korea and the US combined air force power,” according to an official from South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.