[JURIST] Officials from South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), or North Korea, said Thursday that the two countries will work on a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War to replace a cease-fire agreement [text] reached in 1953 which was never signed by the South Korea. The announcement followed an agreement [CNN fact sheet; US DOS fact sheet] between the countries under which the DPRK pledged to declare all nuclear programs and activities and to disable the core nuclear facility at a main plant in exchange for economic and energy aid from the other five parties to the agreement, according to a joint statement [text] released Thursday at the conclusion of a diplomatic summit held in Pyongyang. The summit is part of the diplomatic effort to normalize relations and establish permanent peace between the DPRK and South Korea known as the Six-Party Talks [backgrounder], and the current summit was convened to discuss implementation of commitments made in September 2005 joint statement [text]. The US agreed on Wednesday to remove the DPRK's current status as a recognized state sponsor of terrorism, pending DPRK's successful nuclear disarmament.
The DPRK was sanctioned [JURIST report] by the UN Security Council last October after it exploded several test nuclear weapons underground [JURIST report]. According to a statement [text] released by US President Bush on Wednesday, the agreement reached Wednesday "reflects the common commitment of the participants in the Six-Party Talks to realize a Korean Peninsula that is free of nuclear weapons." Russia, China, and Japan are also parties to the talks. AP has more.