President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held their first summit on Friday, discussing denuclearization, establishing peace and other outstanding inter-Korean issues.
The daylong event began at 9:29 a.m. at the Military Demarcation Line, where the two leaders shook hands on both the South’s and North’s sides of the border. Kim then walked across the line that divides the two Koreas, becoming the first North Korean leader to set foot south of the border.
The initial greeting was followed by an inspection of the South Korean military honor guard.
This is the first time a North Korean leader has reviewed the South’s military honor guard. According to Cheong Wa Dae, the event -- contested by some -- was arranged in light of the fact that late South Korean Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun inspected the North’s honor guard during their visit to Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007, respectively.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, shakes with South Korean President Moon Jae-in inside the Peace House at the border village of Panmunjom in Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Their discussions will be expected to focus on whether the North can be persuaded to give up its nuclear bombs. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP) (Yonhap)
At the negotiating table, Moon was flanked by his chief of staff Im Jong-seok and National Intelligence Service Director Suh Hoon. Kim Jong-un was accompanied by Kim Yong-chol and his sister Kim Yo-jong.
At the start of the meeting in the morning, which lasted from 10:15 a.m. to 11:55 a.m., Moon and Kim Jong-un expressed hopes for substantial results.
“(I) walked here with many thoughts, that if we put our will together, the lost 11 years would not have been a waste,” Kim said, adding that the meeting was the “starting point of peace and prosperity.”
Saying that the moment Kim crossed the Military Demarcation Line at Panmunjeom would became a symbol of peace, Moon praised Kim for his decisions that led to the summit.
“I hope that we engage in the talks with such boldness, and reach an agreement and deliver a gift to all the people of the world who wish for peace,” Moon said.
“In the meeting, the two leaders held frank and serious talks about denuclearization and establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula, and improving inter-Korean relations,” Moon’s senior public relations secretary Yoon Young-chan said. He added that the two sides were working to draw up a joint declaration.
While details of the meeting remained undisclosed, Moon’s comments at the end of the morning session hinted at a positive outcome.
“As we have held many good discussions, (the results) would be a very good gift to the people of the South and North, to the people of the world,” Moon was quoted as saying by Cheong Wa Dae pool reporters.
Kim’s response also gave similar hints.
“It would be the tip of the iceberg, but once (the results) of our first meeting and our discussions are announced, I hope that even a small part of the expectations are satisfied,” Kim said.
By Choi He-suk and Joint Press Corps (firstname.lastname@example.org)