The Panmunjom declaration was signed by North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on 27 April.
It commits North Korea to complete denuclearisation and an end to war on the Korean peninsula, creating a “new era of peace.” Similar words were said at summits in both 2000 and 2007.
Symbolically, both countries agreed to stop propaganda broadcasts across the demilitarised zone and to end leaflet drops. This all comes just a few months from North Korean missile tests and Donald Trump saying he would use “fire and fury” in response.
No previous North Korean leader, Kim Il-sung or Kim Jong-il, had crossed into South Korea to hold the talks. A change here is the impending meeting between Donald Trump and Kim.
As the Guardian notes the communique is not as simple as both Koreas agreeing to end hostilities. China and the USA will be involved in future talks if they are to draw up a formal treaty. That will take long and fraught negotiations. Japan will also be wary of the outcome of those talks.
The north may commit to denuclearisation, but that entails the US removing much of its military installations from South Korea, an unlikely move.
What has led to the thawing of relations? Trump no doubt thinks that his tough stance has forced the North to concede, Kim Jong-un will believe that by continuing to go ahead with the weapons tests he has forced the hand of the South and the US into taking the North seriously as a threat.
With the US currently trying to renegotiate or even scrap the Iran deal and the hawkish nature of people like John Bolton now in the Trump inner circle, any assurance of real peace seems unlikely.
Anyway, what will peace mean for the millions of Koreans trapped under the dictatorship of the Kim family and the “Korean Workers’ Party”?
North Korean workers need international solidarity from the left and labour movement so that they can see an end to both the dictatorship and its dangerous nuclear games.