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Boys look out the window of an electric trolley, one of the more common modes of public transport, in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Thursday, June 15, 2017.
Wong Maye-E/AP
Citizenship

North and South Korea Vow Peace, Promise Joint Bid to Host Olympics

Why Global Citizens Should Care
North Korea has high levels of extreme poverty and malnutrition, and low levels of access to clean water and medical care. The growing prospect of peace on the Korean peninsula could help ease these conditions. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

The leaders of North and South Korea signed a pledge on Wednesday to end all mutual trappings of war and pursue peace, according to CNN.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in gathered at a press conference to discuss plans to submit a joint bid to host the Olympic games in 2032, create a railroad linking the two countries, end military exercises directed at each other, establish a relationship between both country’s tourism agencies, and other actions after signing a 17-page accord.

"The era of no war has started," Moon said during the press conference. "Today the North and South decided to remove all threats that can cause war from the entire Korean peninsula."

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Perhaps most significantly, Kim said that North Korea will further pursue denuclearization by destroying two sites that are crucial to the development of fissile material, CNN reported.

In a year full of historic breakthroughs that have thawed the rigidly hostile relationship between the two countries, Wednesday’s announcements have been considered especially significant, according the BBC.

"The world is going to see how this divided nation is going to bring about a new future on its own," Kim said during the press conference.

Moon went even further in his proclamations of optimism.

"Chairman Kim and I share the history of having held hands like lovers and crossed the Military Demarcation Line together twice," Moon said on Tuesday during a banquet. "The fact that the leaders of Koreas can meet without limit in time or place symbolically demonstrates that a new age of inter-Korean relations has arrived.”

Read More: North Korea and Eritrea Have the Highest Rates of Modern Slavery, Report Says

The next step in this process of ceased hostilities, according to analysts, is the participation of the United States.

Because North Korea has reneged on denuclearization efforts in the past, the US remains wary of its most recent pledges, according to the New York Times.

However, US President Donald Trump applauded the latest progress on Twitter.

Regardless of the outcome, the ongoing progress toward peace is a positive development for the region and could help to ease extreme poverty in North Korea, which has been ostracized by the global community for its aggressive human rights violations and threats of war.

Read More: What Life Is Really Like in North Korea

The UN recently reported that 1 in 5 children in North Korea suffer from malnutrition, clean water is a rare resource, and hospitals lack essential medical supplies.

The new agreement on the Korean peninsula could bring meaningful material benefits to the people of North Korea.

“Ultimately, for any country, what’s needed to deal with problems like malnutrition, and the availability of drugs in the health system, and clean water and sanitation … is economic development,” Mark Lowcock, the under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs at the UN, told VOA News. “Development needs to be faster and inclusive of everybody. In the meantime, we do think it’s important that the UN agencies are in a position to continue to reduce suffering and save lives."