The leaders of the two Koreas in a bold bid for a lasting regional peace have promised to push for a formal end to the Korean War, and make the Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

With a single step over a slab of concrete, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) made history on April 27, 2018, briefly crossing into South Korea. South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (R) then reciprocated, opening a new page in inter-Korean relations.
With a single step over a slab of concrete, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) made history on April 27, 2018, briefly crossing into South Korea. South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (R) then reciprocated, opening a new page in inter-Korean relations. (Reuters)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in on Friday pledged to work toward the "complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula," and seek to declare an official end to the 1950s Korean War and establish a permanent peace agreement.

Here are key moments in their rivalry:

In this October 1945 photo from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, distributed by Korea News Service, leader Kim Il-sung speaks at the Pyongyang citizens' welcoming rally returning in triumph in North Korea.
In this October 1945 photo from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, distributed by Korea News Service, leader Kim Il-sung speaks at the Pyongyang citizens' welcoming rally returning in triumph in North Korea. (AP)

1945: The Korean Peninsula is liberated from Japanese colonial rule at the end of World War II but eventually divided between a Soviet-supported North and a US-backed South. The North invades the South in June 1950, starting a devastating war that is stopped three years later by an armistice.

1968: North Korean commandos infiltrate South Korea in a failed assassination attempt against South Korea's staunch anti-communist leader Park Chung-hee.

Moon Se-kwang (C) as his trial begins in Seoul district court on October 7, 1974. Moon was charged with killing the wife of Korean President Park Chung-hee in an attempt to assassinate the president during a celebration in Seoul August 15, 1974.
Moon Se-kwang (C) as his trial begins in Seoul district court on October 7, 1974. Moon was charged with killing the wife of Korean President Park Chung-hee in an attempt to assassinate the president during a celebration in Seoul August 15, 1974. (AP)

1974: Park's wife is killed in an assassination attempt targeting him during a speech in Seoul. The Korean-Japanese shooter claims he acted under orders from then-North Korean leader Kim Il-sung, the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un.

Members of the official party accompanying President Chun Doo-hwan of South Korea stand together during a farewell ceremony at Seoul's Gimpo International Airport, before departing to Rangoon, Burma (today Yangon, Myanmar). Six of the seven members shown are reported to have been killed in a bomb blast at Burma's Martyrs Mausoleum on Sunday, October 9, 1983.
Members of the official party accompanying President Chun Doo-hwan of South Korea stand together during a farewell ceremony at Seoul's Gimpo International Airport, before departing to Rangoon, Burma (today Yangon, Myanmar). Six of the seven members shown are reported to have been killed in a bomb blast at Burma's Martyrs Mausoleum on Sunday, October 9, 1983. (AP)

1983: South Korean military strongman Chun Doo-hwan narrowly escapes a bombing in Myanmar that kills 21 people, including several cabinet ministers and presidential aides. South Korea and Myanmar accuse North Korea of orchestrating the attack, which Pyongyang denies.

Agents escort a woman, shown with her mouth taped shut, who was identified on her passport as Mayumi Hachiya as she arrives in Seoul from Bahrain, December 15, 1987. South Korea authorities believe she was involved in the disappearance of the Korean Air jetliner on November 29, 1987.
Agents escort a woman, shown with her mouth taped shut, who was identified on her passport as Mayumi Hachiya as she arrives in Seoul from Bahrain, December 15, 1987. South Korea authorities believe she was involved in the disappearance of the Korean Air jetliner on November 29, 1987. (AP)

1987: A South Korean passenger plane is bombed, killing 269 passengers and crew. South Korea says the North was behind the attack.

1991: South Korean President Roh Tae-woo seeks to improve relations with the North, and the Koreas, after rounds of dialogue, sign a non-aggression pact vowing trade, travel and cultural exchanges. The Koreas also join the United Nations at the same time.

Citizens kneel and wail in front of a statue of late President Kim Il-sung in Pyongyang, North Korea on July 11, 1994. He died on July 8 of a heart attack.
Citizens kneel and wail in front of a statue of late President Kim Il-sung in Pyongyang, North Korea on July 11, 1994. He died on July 8 of a heart attack. (AP)

1994: Kim Il-sung dies and is succeeded as leader by his son, Kim Jong-il, the father of Kim Jong-un. Months later, North Korea signs a major nuclear deal with the United States in which it agrees to freeze and dismantle its nuclear facilities in return for two alternative nuclear power reactors that could be used to provide electricity but not bomb fuel, and an annual 500,000 metric tons of fuel oil.

Hong Jung-shik, leader of a South Korean civic group, shouts slogans during a rally against the government's sunshine policy towards North Korea, in front of the S Korean defence ministry in Seoul, Monday, July 1, 2002.
Hong Jung-shik, leader of a South Korean civic group, shouts slogans during a rally against the government's sunshine policy towards North Korea, in front of the S Korean defence ministry in Seoul, Monday, July 1, 2002. (AP)

2000: South Korea's so-called "Sunshine" engagement policy leads to a summit between then-South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il.

2002: The "Agreed Framework" of 1994 collapses when US officials confront Pyongyang over a secret nuclear programme using enriched uranium.

In this January 14, 2003 photo from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, distributed by Korea News Service, young people and students in Pyongyang support the DPRK's withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and hold a rally celebrating the firm determination to protect North Korea.
In this January 14, 2003 photo from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, distributed by Korea News Service, young people and students in Pyongyang support the DPRK's withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and hold a rally celebrating the firm determination to protect North Korea. (AP)

2003: North Korea claims it has a nuclear device and will withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This brings Washington back to the negotiating table with the North, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia in August 2003.

A South Korean man watches a machine gun near North Korea's mock Scud-B missile (L) and other South Korean missiles at the Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, October 7, 2006.
A South Korean man watches a machine gun near North Korea's mock Scud-B missile (L) and other South Korean missiles at the Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, October 7, 2006. (AP)

2006: North Korea conducts its first nuclear test.

2007: The United States and the four other nations in the six-party talks reach a deal to provide North Korea with an aid package worth about $400 million in return for the North disabling its nuclear facilities and allowing international inspectors. South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Jong-il meet in Pyongyang for the second inter-Korean summit. A joint statement vows mutual efforts to solve the "nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula."

South Korea's president-elect Lee Myung-bak speaks during a press conference at an office of his transition team in Seoul, Monday, January 14, 2008
South Korea's president-elect Lee Myung-bak speaks during a press conference at an office of his transition team in Seoul, Monday, January 14, 2008 (AP)

2008: Conservative Lee Myung-bak is elected as South Korean president, ending a decade of liberal rule in Seoul.

A South Korean naval ship (background), the Cheonan, sinks as a coast guard vessel attempts to rescue its sailors near South Korea's Baeknyeong Island, close to North Korea, on Saturday, March 27, 2010.
A South Korean naval ship (background), the Cheonan, sinks as a coast guard vessel attempts to rescue its sailors near South Korea's Baeknyeong Island, close to North Korea, on Saturday, March 27, 2010. (AP)

2010: An explosion sinks a South Korean naval ship near the countries' western maritime border, killing 46 sailors. South Korea accuses Pyongyang of firing a torpedo and sinking the ship. Months later, North Korea fires artillery shells at a South Korean border island, killing four people.

South Koreans watch a news report about the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on a TV screen at a train station in Ulsan, South Korea, Monday, December 19, 2011.
South Koreans watch a news report about the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on a TV screen at a train station in Ulsan, South Korea, Monday, December 19, 2011. (AP)

2011: Kim Jong-un takes power following the death of his father, Kim Jong-il.

2012: North Korea reaches a deal with the United States to suspend nuclear weapons and missile tests and uranium enrichment in exchange for food aid. The deal is killed weeks later when the North launches a long-range rocket. Conservative candidate Park Geun-hye wins the South Korean presidential race in December.

2013: Kim announces his country will pursue a national "byungjin" policy aimed at simultaneously seeking nuclear development and economic growth. This is seen as a clean break from the North's previous stand that mainly used the nuclear programme as a bargaining chip to extract concessions from foreign governments.

An unidentified South Korean army official (2nd from right), briefs media at the scene of a blast inside the Demilitarised Zone, in Paju, South Korea, August 9, 2015.
An unidentified South Korean army official (2nd from right), briefs media at the scene of a blast inside the Demilitarised Zone, in Paju, South Korea, August 9, 2015. ()

2015: South Korea blames the North over land-mine blasts that maim two South Korean soldiers. Tensions grow before the Koreas reach a deal in which the North offers vague regret over the blasts in exchange for the South stopping anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts across the border.

A South Korean man at an anti-North Korea rally in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016.
A South Korean man at an anti-North Korea rally in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. (AP)

2016: South Korea, in reaction to a nuclear test by the North, shuts down an industrial park in North Korea that had been jointly operated by the countries.

South Korean president Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party raises his hands as he arrives for an election campaign in Goyang, South Korea, Thursday, May 4, 2017.
South Korean president Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party raises his hands as he arrives for an election campaign in Goyang, South Korea, Thursday, May 4, 2017. (AP)

2017: Moon takes office in May after winning a presidential by-election following Park's ouster over a corruption scandal. Moon initially vows to reach out to the North, but is forced to take a tougher stance as the North accelerates its nuclear weapons and missile tests.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in during their meeting at the Peace House at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in during their meeting at the Peace House at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. (Reuters)

2018: Inter-Korean dialogue is resumed after Kim in his New Year's speech proposes talks with the South to reduce tensions. North Korea sends hundreds of people to February's Winter Olympics in the South, including Kim's sister, who expresses her brother's desire to meet with Moon for a summit. South Korean officials later broker a mooted summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump. Kim and Moon meet at a border truce village between the Koreas.

Source: AP