Korea summit LIVE: Kim Jong-un promises a ‘new beginning’ for North and South as leaders meet
- South Korean leader Moon Jae-in and Mr Kim shake hands at the border
Kim Jong-Un has become the first North Korean leader to set foot in South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953 for a historic peace summit.
The North Korean leader exchanged a warm greeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in the truce village of Panmunjom.
In a highly symbolic moment, Moon then led Kim by hand to cross into the South for the first time ever.
It comes following a year in which North Korea, the South and the US traded increasingly hostile rhetoric about nuclear war amid a series of atomic tests by Kim’s regime, but then dramatically softened their stances in the last few months.
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Suited up, they circled Kim’s vehicle as he returned for a spot of lunch.
Reuters reported that a North Korean security team conducted a sweep for explosives and listening devices before Kim entered the Peace House.
Kim revealed he had brought Moon an edible gift from over the border.
He said: ‘I saw earlier that the dinner menu here is a very hot topic. I also brought with me cold noodles from Pyongyang so President I hope you can enjoy the Pyongyang noodles.’
After Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron planted a tree together on the White House lawn this week, Kim and Moon also held a ceremonial tree-planting in the demilitarized zone.
Moon told Kim that if he were to travel to Seoul, the military honor guard that would greet him would be much bigger than the one today.
‘If you invite me to the Blue House, I am willing to go to the Blue House anytime,’ Kim responded.
This is how the two leaders’ conversation went during their historic meeting, according to reporters who were present.
Kim: ‘Nice to meet you’.
Moon: ‘Was it not hard to come here?’
Moon: ‘Nice to meet you.’
Kim: ‘My heart won’t stop fluttering, to meet at such a historic location. Also, I’m very moved that you have come all the way to [military demarcation line] to greet.’
Moon: ‘It was a very courageous decision for you to come all the way here.’
Kim: ‘No, no.’
Moon: ‘We have made a historic moment.’
Kim Jong-un’s younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, was among the six delegates with a seat at the table as talks began.
It is the second time in three months that Kim Yo Jong, 30, has been in the South.
She represented North Korea at the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.
As Kim’s car left the first round of talks for lunch, it was protected by 12 suited bodyguards who formed a ring around the vehicle while jogging to keep up.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in told the North Korean dictator: ‘Chairman Kim, for the first time in our history you crossed the military demarcation line. The military demarcation line is no longer a symbol of division but a symbol of peace.
‘I would like to pay tribute to the courageous and bold decision made by you chairman Kim to arrange our meeting.’
The North Korean dictator said: ‘I feel like I’m firing a flare at the starting line in the moment of [the two Koreas] writing a new history in North-South relations, peace and prosperity.’
He added: ‘Through today’s meeting, I hope we won’t go back to square one again, and the non-implementation of what is committed will not happen again.’
Moon responded that there were high expectations that they produce an agreement that will be a ‘big gift to the entire Korean nation and every peace loving person in the world’.
Reuters said Kim Jong-un’s message in the visitor’s book at Peace House was: ‘New history starts now, the starting point of a new historic peace era.’
Here is an image of the scrawled note:
Historic moment the two leaders shake hands across the Military Demarcation line
In a moment rich with symbolism and pomp, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in shake hands at the Military Demarcation Line that separates the two countries.
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