Kim Jong-un Makes History – Crosses DMZ Line & Steps Into South Korea To Meet Rival Moon

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Apr 27 2018
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Both Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in share a common language and a 2,000-year-old history. Yet, Mr. Kim is the first North Korean leader to step foot in South Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War. Today, Kim Jong-un made history by crossing over the world’s most heavily armed border – the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) – to greet South Korean President Moon Jae-in.


Moon greeted Kim at the military demarcation line at 9:30 a.m. (0030 GMT). But in what appeared to be out-of-script move, the North Korean leader momentarily invited Moon to step briefly across the demarcation line back into North Korea, before the two leaders – smiling, chatting and posing for photos – crossed back into South Korea holding hands.


That unscripted moment could be due to Moon asking – “I’m looking forward to visiting the North. When can I do that?” to which Kim probably showed him – “You can actually do it now, just come over here to the North side now.” And that’s what led to them popping over to the North from the South before stepping back.

North Korean Kim Jong-un Meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in - with students

North Korean Kim Jong-un Crosses Into South Korea - Map

Shortly after, two fifth-grade students from the Daesongdong Elementary School, the only South Korean school within the DMZ, presented Kim with flowers, which the North Korean leader passed to his sister, Kim Yo Jong. Although both leaders didn’t display the affection as did Trump and Macron, their hands-shaking and hands-holding photos have garnered more attention.


Kim Jong-un, dressed in his signature striped Mao-style jacket, was then led to inspect the Guard of Honour, while a military band playing traditional Korean folk songs beloved by both Koreans equivalent of “Hail to the Chief.” Later, the North and South leaders walked down the red carpet towards Peace House, the actual venue of the summit.


Mr. Kim then signed the guest book at peace house before he and Moon walked into a conference room for the beginning of the talks. Kim’s message in the visitor’s book at Peace House says – “A new history starts now. An age of peace, from the starting point of history.”  They then took a photo inside the Peace House in front of a painting of South Korea’s Bukhan Mountain.

North Korean Kim Jong-un Meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in - Signing Guest Book

North Korean Kim Jong-un Meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in - Guest Book Message

Apparently, the summit is so important that a specially designed table was built for this occasion. The leaders from the North and South will sit precisely 2,018 millimetres apart – symbolising the year of this historic summit. Thousands of journalists were present although they were kept in a huge conference centre well away from the summit.


Security was understandably tight. According to Reuters, minutes before Kim entered Peace House, a North Korean security team conducted a sweep for explosives and listening devices, as well as sprayed apparent disinfectant in the air, on the chairs, and even on the guest book.


Before the summit officially begins, Kim reportedly said – “I wanted to hold ‘frank’ discussions on current issues and hoped the summit could lead to a ‘good outcome’. I hope to write a new chapter between us, this is the starting point for us. We will make a new beginning. It has taken 11 years for this historic moment to happen. Walking here I wondered why it has taken so long.”

North Korean Kim Jong-un Meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in - Holding Hands

North Korean Kim Jong-un Meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in - Shake Hands

“Through today’s meeting, I hope we won’t go back to square one again and non-implementation of what we agree won’t happen again. I hope we can live up to the exceptions that other have on us, and I hope there can be agreements to fulfil those great expectations.” – said Kim Jong-un.


In response, Moon said – “Chairman Kim, for the first time in our history you crossed the military demarcation line. Your visit makes the military demarcation line a symbol of peace, not division. I thank you very much for your courage. Our dialogue and talks today will be very frank. There is a huge burden on our shoulders. People around the world have high hopes.”


Only 6 people were seen at the round table inside the meeting room for the private meeting. Based on photograph, Kim Jong-un sat alongside his sister Kim Yo Jong and top government official and former spy chief Kim Yong Chol. On the South Korean side, Moon Jae-in was flanked by Suh Hoon, the head of South Korea’s spy agency, and Chief Presidential Secretary Im Jong-Suk

North Korean Kim Jong-un Meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in - Summit Private Meeting

North Korean Kim Jong-un Meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in - Summit - Walk Together

Besides Trump administration, China shows great interest about the summit too, with news of the meeting occupying most of China Central Television (CCTV) coverage today. Obviously, it’s too early to talk about reunification of North Korea and South Korea, but based on Korean twitter trending, people of South Korea have high hopes for the summit.


Likewise, the summit has injected the excitement to the Chinese social media users, as they drew comparisons to the possibility of China reuniting with Taiwan. A Weibo user posted – “Let’s witness history. I hope Taiwan can return to China someday.” Beijing claims that Taiwan, which has been ruled by its own government for decades, belongs to mainland China.


As both leaders went separate ways for their lunch break, President Moon’s spokesperson Yoon Young-chan said that Moon has invited Kim to the South Korean Presidential house, an offer that Kim has accepted. Seoul also said Kim Jong-un apologised to Moon for interrupting his sleep following North Korea’s nuclear tests last year, saying – “We won’t interrupt your early morning sleep anymore.”

North Korean Kim Jong-un Meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in - Shake Hands 2


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